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one of the forms of the investigation of crimes. As distinct from the preliminary investigation, inquiry is conducted not by an investigator but by an agency of inquiry and has certain procedural characteristics.
In socialist states inquiry is regulated in detail by laws of procedure.
In the USSR there are different kinds of inquiries: (1) inquiry in cases for which a preliminary investigation is obligatory and (2) inquiry in cases in which such investigation is not obligatory (as a rule, for crimes relatively uncomplicated as far as investigation is concerned). In the first instance, inquiry consists only in the initiation of a criminal case and the conducting of urgent investigative actions to establish and preserve traces of the crime (view, search, seizure, examination, and the detention and interrogation of suspects, victims, and witnesses). After these actions have been performed or, in any event, after ten days, the agency of inquiry must transfer the case to an investigator. From this moment on, the agency of inquiry may conduct investigative and search actions in connection with the case only on the instruction of the investigator (operative-search measures to ascertain the criminal are also carried out on the initiative of the agency of inquiry itself).
In the second instance, inquiry consists in the initiation of criminal cases and in the taking of all measures provided by law for establishing the circumstances of the criminal case that are to be proved, that is, the inquiry consists in a complete investigation of the crime. In this instance inquiry replaces preliminary investigation, and its materials form the basis for consideration of the case in court. In contrast to the preliminary investigation, the defense counsel does not participate in presenting to the accused the materials of the case in this form of inquiry. The inquiry materials are not presented to the victim, the civil plaintiff, the civil defendant, or their representatives.
In the USSR, inquiry is conducted by agencies of the militia, by commanders of military units and military formations, by heads of military institutions, by agencies of state security, by heads of correctional labor institutions, by agencies of state fire inspection and protection, by naval captains on long voyages, and by heads of polar stations during periods when there are no transportation connections with the station (Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR, art. 117).
In the majority of bourgeois states, police inquiry is almost never regulated by law.
I. D. PERLOV