A new police guideline will give police officers more leeway in entering and searching houses as part of efforts to better pre-empt serious crimes, police said Sunday.
The guideline on emergency house searches permits police officers to defy a resident’s refusal and enter the house in case a murder or serious violence is suspected to be happening in the house, according to the police.
The guideline also allows police officers to search houses even without a court-issued search warrant in case the officers find evidence of crime or a crime in progress there.
The National Police Agency has recently handed out the guideline to police stations across the country and begun to implement it, according to the police.
Previously, refusals by residents prohibited police officers from entering and searching their houses despite suspicions of criminal activity.
Police are guided to resort to forcibly entering and searching a house if a serious crime, such as robbery, rape or murder, is suspected, the suspect is carrying a firearm or serious human damage is expected, according to the new guideline.
The police also said before searching houses under the new guideline, officers are required to present their identification to residents and give an explanation to them before using force in order to minimize possible privacy or human rights invasions.
“The guideline has been drawn up and handed out because the police determined that the right (to enter and search houses) was necessary to protect citizens’ lives and properties from increasingly serious crimes,” an official at the National Police Agency said. (Yonhap News)