Are police entitled to gain entry to homes without a warrant?

Question Details: Earlier in the year, a man tried to force his way into my house and broke my window. The police came and forced their way into my home, saying they needed to search the house. I was extremely upset with the police and told them that I did not want them in my home. They said they were entitled to gain access against my wishes as they thought I was hiding the man inside. Is this legal?

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

Yes, the Police do have the power to enter your home without a warrant in some situations.

For example, Police can enter your property if they have a good reason to believe that a person is there who is "unlawfully at large" (that means the person has escaped from custody or has an arrest warrant out).

Police can also enter your property if they have good reasons to believe that there is a person there who has committed an offence that they could go to prison for, and that if the Police don't arrest the person they will try to escape or will try to destroy evidence.

We don't have enough information about your situation to tell whether the Police behaved lawfully when they entered your home. However, if you want to consider complaining about the Police actions, you can contact the Independent Police Conduct Authority:

Answered 13 Mar 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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