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Cops Break Into Insecure Homes in the Middle of the Night to Prevent Burglary

Police officers in a town in Essex, England, has a unique way of making sure the town's residents stay safe: the cops will break into their homes in the middle of the night.

Sleeping householders are going to be woken up in the middle of the night to discover someone breaking into their house - only to discover it is the police.

Police in Shoebury, Essex, have been going round testing doors and windows of houses to check if they have been left unlocked - and if they find an easy way in they will wake up the household to warn them their house is insecure.

The new police campaign is aimed at warning people of the dangers of late-night break ins - but predictably, those who have been woken have not been happy so far.

Well, I suppose it's better the cops than the burglars: Link


Years ago, when my dad accidentally left one back door to his office unlocked, we got a phone call from the police in the middle of the night.

In my area, at least, they would occasionally try doors on their rounds.

I don't think they have time for that any more.

If someone enters your property, it's considered "breaking in" even if nothing is broken.

I guess if you're going to leave your door unlocked, it's your own choice (or stupidity if you're in a high crime area). I sometimes forget to lock my car at night, but there's nothing it for anyone to take.
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I doubt they'd be breaking in and wandering into someone's bedroom to wake them up. The article says they try the doors & windows and if something's open they'll wake the residents - probably by knocking/doorbell. Of course, overreaction & bluster is so much more fun.

The police in Brisbane used to do something similar with cars in train station carparks. They'd check that the doors were locked & that there wasn't anything expensive or valuable visible in the car. Then when you'd get off the train you'd have a nice little note on your windscreen either giving you a slap on the wrist, or congratulating you for not tempting thieves.
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It's illegal. It's called trespass in England. Defined as "Interference with land which is in the immediate and exclusive possession of another. Land is defined as the surface, subsoil, airspace and anything permanently attached to the land, such as houses."

There you have it - sue the idiots. What happens when a half asleep homeowner lashes out and badly injures one of these policemenm acting on some moronic initiative dreamed up by some twat in an office?
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The first line of the linked story, "Sleeping householders are going to be woken up in the middle of the night to discover someone breaking into their house"
is where the title came from.

At my house, they'd be in great danger of a chewed leg, as my dog doesn't believe any stranger should cross the threshold without escort.
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Only the Neatorama title says they break into the house, the article says they test the doors and windows to check if they're open. It seems more likely they'd wake them up with the doorbell.
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@Anonymoose there is no legal system for the UK. Scottish law differs from the legal system of England and Wales and the system for Northern Ireland is different again.

In England and Wales the government have supposedly clarified the situation, but it is still up to the courts to decide whether the force used in defending your property is proportionate. A lot hinges on how the court decides a reasonable person would have reacted, and how that putative reasonable person would have perceived the threat. Would a court of law consider it reasonable to stab a uniformed police officer, even if you found them uninvited in your home? Unlikely.
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Whether or not their entry is illegal would largely depend on whether they cause any damage or steal anything. In legal terms "damage" can be as little as a muddy footprint on the carpet, in causing any damage they would be committing burglary. If they do not cause any damage then without a warrant they would be committing trespass, which is a matter for the civil courts.

OK so that is somewhat over simplified, but with a system of common law you have to over simplify unless you want a two week argument in a court.
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Even in the UK, you are allowed to defend yourself and your property, just not with deadly force as in the USA. So expect a 'terrified homeowner stabs policeman' story soon.
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Daniel Kim - as it should be. If someone breaks into my house, I will protect my family and my stuff. And if that means the one breaking in does not get breakfast, so be it.
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This would not end well in my house. I don't know about British law but what if while "breaking in" the observed some type of illegal activity that would normally require a warrant to find or is this a convient way to perform illegal searches?
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