special measures taken by agencies of inquiry to prevent and avert crimes, discover crimes that have been committed, find persons who have committed crimes, and recover property taken by criminals. These actions also identify possible sources of evidence. In the USSR operative-search actions are provided for in the Basic Principles of Criminal Procedure of the USSR and the Union Republics and the June 8, 1973, decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR entitled On the Primary Duties and Rights of the Soviet Militia in Protecting Public Order and Fighting Crime.
Operative-search actions include familiarization with documents, interrogations, the use of search dogs, detection by description, the use of systems of criminal registration and other criminal records, and appealing to the public through the press and radio if necessary. These actions are performed only by authorized officials within limits established by law. The documents that regulate operative-search actions devote special attention to guarantees of socialist legality. Information obtained through operative-search actions may be used only for guidance and does not constitute evidence in a criminal trial.