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Police Act

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

Passed 20 September 1990

(RT1 1990, 10, 113),

entered into force 1 March 1991,

amended by the following Acts:

03.12.2003 entered into force 01.01.2004 - RT I 2003, 81, 544;

29.01.2003 entered into force 10.03.2003 - RT I 2003, 20, 116;

12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350;

11.10.2001 entered into force 08.11.2001 - RT I 2001, 85, 511;

13.06.2001 entered into force 31.03.2002 - RT I 2001, 65, 377;

20.12.2000 entered into force 01.03.2001 - RT I 2001, 7, 17;

13.05.98 entered into force 19.06.98 - RT I 1998, 51, 756;

14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753;

26.06.96 entered into force 26.07.96 - RT I 1996, 49, 953;

28.06.95 entered into force 01.01.96 - RT I 1995, 62, 1056;

23.11.94 entered into force 01.01.95;

11.05.94 entered into force 16.06.94;

20.04.94 entered into force 16.05.94;

21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93;

26.03.91 entered into force 22.04.91.

Chapter I

General Provisions

§ 1. Purposes of Police Act

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

The Police Act determines the position and role of the police within the system of state and local government bodies, provides for the main functions, duties, rights and liability of the police, the organisational bases of the police, and supervision over the activities of the police.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

§ 2. Police

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

(1) The police is an institution of executive power within the area of administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355; 14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

(2) (Repealed - 14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

(3) (Repealed - 14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

(4) Assistant police officers participate in the activities of the police on a voluntary basis. The competence of assistant police officers is provided by an Act.

(20.04.94 entered into force 16.05.94 - RT I 1994, 34, 533)

(5) All police authorities and police officers are required to assist each another upon the protection of public order, combating of criminal attacks and detention of criminal offenders without waiting for a special order.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 3. Main functions of police

The police shall guarantee public order, protect the legal interests of persons and organisations, combat crime, conduct pre-trial investigations in criminal offences, impose and execute punishments within the limits of its competence.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

§ 4. General principles of activities of police

(1) The police shall be guided by the principles of legality and humanism upon the protection of public order and the guarantee of public safety.

(2) The police shall co-operate with other state bodies, non-profit organisations, and persons and associations of persons upon the performance of the duties assigned to the police.

(3) All persons who stay in the territory of the Republic of Estonia or who are under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Estonia regardless of their citizenship, nationality or race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin, social and financial status, education or other circumstances shall be under the protection of the police.

(4) Unlawful physical or psychological violence and degrading treatment or punishment shall not be used in the activities of the police.

(5) (Repealed - 14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 5. Provision of information on activities of police

(1) The police shall inform state and local government bodies and the population of its activities.

(2) Information containing state and official secrets and business secrets of organisations and persons, information concerning private life, and also information obtained in the course of professional activities of the police which may be prejudicial to the honour and dignity of persons, which may render the detection of criminal offences difficult or which may induce crime shall not be made public.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

(3) The police is required to present a person with information maintained in the data system concerning him or her if the person has submitted an application to this effect.

(4) It is prohibited to provide information concerning other persons.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

(5) The procedure for release of information from the police data system shall be provided by law.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355)

§ 6. Participation of state and local government bodies, non-profit organisations and persons in protection of public order and fight against crime

(1) State and local government bodies and their officials are required to provide all assistance to the police upon the police performing its duties.

(2) The participation of non-profit organisations, persons and the associations of persons in the protection of public order and the fight against crime, and also their authority and legal protection shall be regulated by Acts and other legislation.

§ 7. Monitoring and supervision of activities of police

(1) In addition to the Government of the Republic and the Minister of Internal Affairs, the State Audit Office and committees formed by local governments have the right to monitor the activities of the police within the limits of their competence and pursuant to the procedure established by Acts and other legislation.

(2) The Prosecutor's Office shall exercise supervision over the legality of the activities of the police within the limits of its competence and pursuant to the procedure established by Acts and other legislation. The proposal of a prosecutor is binding on the police.

(3) (Repealed - 20.12.2000 entered into force 01.03.2001 - RT I 2001, 7, 17)

Chapter II

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

Structure of Police and Police Authorities

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 8. Structure of police

(1) The police is composed of:

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

(2) The police authorities are:

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

(3) The national specialised police authorities are:

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 9. Formation, restructuring and termination of police prefectures and police training institutions

The Government of the Republic shall form and reorganise police prefectures and police training institutions, and terminate the activities thereof by a regulation.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 10. Police Board

(1) The Police Board shall organise the guarantee of public order and internal security, the prevention, combating and detection of criminal offences and administrative offences, the pre-trial investigation of criminal matters, the conduct of proceedings in the matter of administrative offences, and shall perform other duties assigned to the police by an Act or legislation issued on the basis thereof.

(2) The Police Board shall manage, direct, co-ordinate and monitor the activities of the police authorities and police training institutions under its administration.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 11. (Repealed - 20.12.2000 entered into force 01.03.2001 - RT I 2001, 7, 17)

§ 111. Police prefecture

(1) A police prefecture shall guarantee public order and internal security, prevent, combat and detect criminal offences and administrative offences, conduct pre-trial investigation of criminal matters, conduct proceedings in the matter of administrative offences and perform other duties assigned to the police by an Act or legislation issued on the basis thereof, unless the performance thereof is within the competence of national police authorities.

(2) A police prefecture is a local agency of the Police Board with the authority to exercise executive power.

(3) A police prefecture may include territorial structural units: police stations and police departments. A police department is formed for the provision of services to a region of at least 50 000 inhabitants.

(4) The Minister of Internal Affairs may, by a regulation, authorise the head of a police department to the same extent of authority as granted to the heads of police prefectures.

(5) Police prefectures may include houses of detention. The Minister of Internal Affairs may assign, by a regulation, a house of detention the duty to provide services also to other police authorities.

(6) The location and territorial jurisdiction of a police prefecture shall be established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 112. Central Criminal Police

(1) The Central Criminal Police shall prevent, combat and detect criminal offences and conduct pre-trial investigation of criminal matters in the cases prescribed by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

(11) The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Criminal Police shall engage in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing pursuant to the provisions of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (RT I 1998, 110, 1811; 2000, 84, 533; 2001, 93, 565; 2002, 53, 336; 63, 387; 2003, 81, 544).

(03.12.2003 entered into force 01.01.2004 - RT I 2003, 81, 544)

(2) The Central Criminal Police is a government agency administered by the Police Board.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 113. Personal Protection Service

(1) The Personal Protection Service provides personal protection to the President of the Republic, the Chairman of the Riigikogu2, the Prime Minister and to persons designated by the Government of the Republic, and guards and protects objects designated by the Government of the Republic.

(2) The bases for organisation of personal protection activities and guarding and protection of objects shall be established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

(3) The Personal Protection Service is a government agency administered by the Police Board.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 114. Forensic Service Centre

(1) The Forensic Service Centre conducts forensic examinations and technical investigations and participates in the conduct of investigative activities.

(2) The Forensic Service Centre is a government agency administered by the Police Board.

(14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

§ 115. Educational institutions preparing police officers

(1) Police officers are prepared at police training institutions and institutions of applied higher education for public defence.

(2) Police training institutions are vocational educational institutions for public defence. Police training institutions are administered by the Police Board.

(29.01.2003 entered into force 10.03.2003 - RT I 2003, 20, 116)

§ 116. Number of public servants of police authorities

The number of the police officers and other public servants of police authorities shall be established by the Government of the Republic.

(20.12.2000 entered into force 01.03.2001 - RT I 2001, 7, 17)

Chapter III

Duties of police

§ 12. Duties of police

(1) The police, in accordance with its functions, shall:

(2) The police shall, within the limits of its competence, provide assistance to:

(3) If a police officer or a police cadet who has received corresponding training witnesses an offence, he or she shall commence the performance of his or her duties regardless of the time and place.

(29.01.2003 entered into force 10.03.2003 - RT I 2003, 20, 116)

Chapter IV

Rights of police

§ 13. Rights of police

The police has the right to:

(13.06.2001 entered into force 31.03.2002 - RT I 2001, 65, 377)

Chapter V

Use of Weapons and Special Equipment

(28.06.95 entered into force 01.01.96 - RT I 1995, 62, 1056)

§ 14. Weapons and special equipment of police

(28.06.95 entered into force 01.01.96 - RT I 1995, 62, 1056)

(1) Weapons and special equipment of the police are divided into active means of protection, passive means of protection and police operations equipment.

(2) Passive means of protection are:

(3) Active means of protection are:

(4) Police operations equipment is:

(5) Objects and devices for civilian use are deemed to be special equipment of the police only in the cases where they are used in a police operation.

(51) (Repealed - 13.06.2001 entered into force 31.03.2002 - RT I 2001, 65, 377)

(6) The police has the right to use special equipment, truncheons and gas weapons for the performance of police functions in the following cases:

(13.06.2001 entered into force 31.03.2002 - RT I 2001, 65, 377)

(7) The police shall consider the nature of each offence, person and situation before using special equipment, truncheons and gas weapons against an offender. If special equipment, truncheons and gas weapons are used, the police shall avoid causing more harm to the health of the persons than unavoidable in the situation.

(28.06.95 entered into force 01.01.96 - RT I 1995, 62, 1056; 13.06.2001 entered into force 31.03.2002 - RT I 2001, 65, 377)

(8) A police officer has the right to use self-defence equipment and physical force upon the performance of police functions or for ensuring his or her own safety.

(9) Upon the performance of police functions, a police officer has the right to establish, with the aim to ensure public safety, a safety zone around himself or herself, other persons or objects which no person shall enter without the permission of the police officer. A police officer may use physical force, special equipment, cut-and- thrust weapons or gas weapons if this requirement is violated.

(21.04.93 entered into force 06.05.93 - RT I 1993, 20, 355; 28.06.95 entered into force 01.01.96 - RT I 1995, 62, 1056)

§ 15. Use of firearms

(1) Police officers have the right to carry and use firearms. Police officers have the right to use firearms as an extreme measure in specific situations where performance of the duties assigned to them is otherwise not possible without endangering their life or health.

(2) Firearms may be used:

§ 151. Prohibition on use of weapons and special equipment

(28.06.95 entered into force 01.01.96 - RT I 1995, 62, 1056)

It is prohibited to use weapons and special equipment (except self-defence equipment):

Chapter V1

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

Taking of Persons to Medical Institution or into Custody to Recover from Intoxication

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

§ 152. Taking of intoxicated person to medical institution or into custody to recover from intoxication

(1) An intoxicated person who due to intoxication might present a danger to himself or herself or to other persons or fall victim to a crime shall be taken to a medical institution, a police detention house or detention cell.

(2) The following persons shall be taken to a medical institution:

(3) An intoxicated person who is in a state of medium or severe intoxication shall be taken to a police detention house or a detention cell for recovery from intoxication to recover from intoxication if, due to intoxication, the person:

(4) For disturbing the peace in a dwelling, only a person specified in clause (3) 1) of this section may be taken into custody to recover from intoxication.

(5) A minor in a state of mild intoxication shall be taken into custody to recover from intoxication only if it is not possible to deliver the minor to the care of a centre for minors, a shelter, an adult family member, caregiver or guardian within the territorial jurisdiction of the police prefecture of the location where the minor was detained.

(6) An intoxicated person shall not be taken into custody to recover from intoxication if, as a result of identification or examination of the person it becomes evident that the person:

(7) If the identity of an intoxicated person who is found in a public place is established and the person resides in the same settlement unit or city district, the person may be taken home to the care of an adult family member provided that the person does not exhibit signs of aggressive behaviour.

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

§ 153. Report of taking of intoxicated person into custody to recover from intoxication

(1) A report shall be prepared concerning the taking of an intoxicated person into custody to recover from intoxication.

(2) The following shall be set out in a report of taking an intoxicated person into custody to recover from intoxication:

(3) A report shall be signed by the person who prepares the report and the person(s) taken into custody to recover from intoxication.

(4) Upon the release of a person taken into custody to recover from intoxication, the money, documents and other items of the person taken into storage to shall be returned to the person against signature in the report of taking the person into custody to recover from intoxication and a receipt shall be issued to the person concerning the substances or items which are not returned. If the person refuses to sign the report, the person authorised to prepare the report shall make a notation to this effect in the report and confirm it by his or her signature.

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

§ 154. Detention conditions of persons taken into custody to recover from intoxication

(1) A person taken into custody to recover from intoxication and his or her personal belongings must be examined.

(2) Money, valuables and documents, and items and medicinal products which might present a danger to the person himself or herself or to other persons shall be taken into storage from a person taken into custody to recover from intoxication.

(3) A person taken into custody to recover from intoxication shall be detained separately from other detained persons. Men and women shall be detained in separate cells.

(4) A cell for recovery from intoxication shall have no sharp protruding ledges or corners, it shall have a wooden floor or floor made of another material with the same thermal characteristics as wood and the cell shall be lighted and heated. Bunks shall be rigidly secured. The door of the cell shall have a window.

(5) Other detention conditions and the treatment of persons taken into custody to recover from intoxication shall not be degrading to human dignity.

(6) In order to ensure the safety of a person taken into custody to recover from intoxication, the person shall be kept under observation. If the person’s health deteriorates, medical staff shall be summoned.

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

§ 155. Use of means of restraint

(1) A person taken into custody to recover from intoxication may be restrained if there is an immediate danger of bodily harm to themselves or violence toward other persons and verbal appeasing has been insufficient to eliminate the danger.

(2) A person may be tied up or cuffed or a restraint chair or restraint-jacket may be used as means of restraint. Means of restraint shall not be applied for longer than one hour.

(3) A corresponding entry concerning the use of means of restraint shall be made in the report of taking an intoxicated person into custody to recover from intoxication where the reasons for restraining the person, the type of means of restraint and the duration of restraint shall be indicated.

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

§ 156. Release from custody

(1) A person taken into custody to recover from intoxication shall be detained until the person has recovered from intoxication but not for longer than twenty-four hours. If, after such period, a person has not sufficiently recovered from intoxication for him or her to be allowed to leave on their own, a doctor shall be summoned to determine the person’s state of health.

(2) If a person recovers from intoxication at night and it is not possible for him or her to go home or the person does not wish to go home, the person may, at his or her own request, remain in the cell for recovery from intoxication until the morning and a corresponding entry shall be made in the report of taking the person into custody to recover from intoxication.

(3) Substances or items which may be owned or carried only with a special permit shall not be returned to a person released from custody, if the person has no such permit.

(12.06.2002 entered into force 01.09.2002 - RT I 2002, 56, 350)

Chapters VI - VIII

(Repealed - 14.05.98 entered into force 15.06.98 - RT I 1998, 50, 753)

1 RT = Riigi Teataja = State Gazette

2 Riigikogu = the parliament of Estonia