When the police knock on doors, they do so for specific reasons. Generally, that is to break the news that a relative has been injured or killed, to arrest someone, or to get evidence or information to help them arrest someone.
Even if you believe you have nothing to fear, it may be best to refrain from opening. Here is why:
It’s much harder to keep someone out of an open door than a closed one
If you open and change your mind, an officer could put a foot in the door or stand against it, making it impossible to close without some kind of physical contact that could get you in trouble.
They might not have the right to enter
The only occasions when the police have the right to enter your home are:
- With a correctly detailed search warrant
- If they are pursuing a criminal who entered your house, such as in a chase
- If they believe it is necessary to save someone from harm
- If they think it is essential right now to stop evidence from being destroyed
Other than that, they can only enter if you invite them in, and it is much easier to get tricked into giving them entry when your door is open than when it is firmly shut.
You do not even need to answer their knock if you prefer not to. If the officers have a valid warrant, they will soon tell you and can slide it under the door or hold it up to the window or keyhole for you to check.
Understanding your legal rights is crucial to reduce the chance of you facing criminal charges and defending against them if you do.