Monitoring of traffickers

Against a background of increased security, a number of countries report legal changes to improve monitoring of traffickers and users. In Denmark, a law that came into force in June 2002 requires providers of telecommunications services to record and store for one year any telecommunications and Internet communication data that may prove relevant to police investigations. Provided they have a court warrant, police may now, using computer programs or other equipment, read non-public data held on computers. Similarly, in Portugal, a law introduced in January 2002 established special measures (in the areas of evidence collection, information confidentiality and confiscation of assets) to help fight organised financial crime and other serious crimes, including drug trafficking. In Finland, an amendment to the Police Act extended the rights of the police to acquire telecommunications information (e.g. in cases of suspected drug-related crime) and to engage in technical surveillance. In 2002, the government also put forward the Coercive Means Act. This will extend the means for telesurveillance and monitoring communications although the details are still to be specified.

In January 2002, the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Netherlands was changed to allow, in addition to body cavity searching, the use of X-rays and ultrasound scans in anyone suspected of having swallowed small packages of drugs, provided these procedures are carried out by a physician. User detection techniques also increased, and last summer the United Kingdom’s drug-testing pilot programme in England and Wales was extended. This scheme allows samples to be taken from adults in police detention who are charged with a ‘trigger offence’ (mainly acquisitive crimes and drug offences) in order to test for heroin and cocaine. Those who test positive are offered the opportunity to see an arrest referral worker for an assessment for treatment, and the drug test results are made available to the courts to assist with bail and sentencing decisions. Early pilot findings were published in March 2003. Drug testing on charge is being extended during 2003 to 30 high-crime police basic command units (police divisions within a police area) in the United Kingdom.