6th Dec, 2016

Coventry Police under fire for entering unlocked homes and tweeting pictures

Coventry Editorial 26th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

COVENTRY Police have been slammed on social media for posting photos of officers inside unlocked residents’ homes.

The Twitter pictures, which have since been deleted, show officers testing doors and windows with captions advising homeowners to ensure their properties are secure.

The photos were part of the #stoleninseconds campaign, which the force hoped would highlight how insecure entrances present opportunities to thieves.

And while the force claims to have received positive feedback from residents, others on social media have slammed the actions of officers.

Some questioned the legality of the move – Twitter user @quendergeer saying: “Pretty sure “wandering in to make a point” would receive a very dim view from the IPCC.”

While @craigwalder said: “If you enter my home like this, don’t be surprised if I use reasonable force when I hear you.”

Others however defended the actions – @davemyopinion arguing: “Coventry police in trouble for getting into insecure homes and taking a photo to prove it. People should thank them, could’ve been burglers.”

Following criticism, the Coventry Police team tweeted to thank people for their feedback and say they would review the success of the tactics.

Coventry Police Chief Inspector Helen Kirkman, justified the move – arguing that more than 25 per cent of all burglaries in the area are ‘walk in’ offences committed by opportunistic thieves.

She added: “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.

“We have had very positive feedback from residents…they are grateful for officers pointing out what they’ve found and the advice they’re offered.

“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.”