Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry Police enter unlocked homes and tweet photos

One of the force's tweets Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Police said they had not had any complaints from residents

Police in Coventry have been criticised on social media for entering people's unlocked homes and tweeting photos.

The Cov City Police team has been on burglary patrol in the city, testing front doors then advising homeowners to lock their properties.

The photos, one retweeted by West Midlands Police's chief constable, showed officers inside hallways pointing out the home is insecure.

The force said it had had good feedback but would take other comments on board.

More stories from Coventry

Dozens of people on Twitter questioned the officers' actions.

User @craigwalder said: "If you enter my home like this, don't be surprised if I use reasonable force when I hear you."

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption The images, cropped by the BBC so properties are not identified, were tweeted by police in Coventry

While @quendergeer tweeted: "Pretty sure "wandering in to make a point" would receive a very dim view from the IPCC."

And @just_raymie asked: "And if they forget to lock their door again, everyone now knows where they live?!?"

Occasions when officers do not need a warrant to enter homes include to arrest an individual for a sufficiently serious crime, to recapture someone unlawfully at large and saving an individual's life or preventing serious damage to a person or property.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The tactic was heavily criticised on Twitter

The team tweeted a response on Sunday following criticism of their tactics: "Thanks all for the feedback on one of the burglary prevention tactics. We'll review based on feedback #socialmediasuccess?"

In a statement, Coventry Police Ch Insp Helen Kirkman, said: "A significant proportion all burglaries in this area − in excess of 25% − are 'walk-in' offences committed by opportunists taking advantage of properties left unsecured.

"Neighbourhood police teams have been on patrol to deter such offences, look for suspects, and to offer crime prevention advice to residents.

"If they find a door or window left open I think people would want officers to check everything is OK at that address and not to just walk on by."

She said she had not received any complaints from residents, saying they were "grateful" for the advice.

"We encourage our police teams to be proactive and creative in their use of social media to engage with the public and get messages across.

"We haven't received any complaints from residents, but obviously we will take on board social media comments."

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