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Old 11.09.2020, 09:30
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Police knocking on the door asking for ID

Me and my wife moved 4 weeks ago to Zurich. We're now living in Altstetten in a temporary apartment payed by my company. We've already found a permanent apartment and will be moving on the 21st this month.

Today I left for work and she called me saying that a guy knocked on the door, showed a card identifying himself as police and asked for her ID. She was obviously scared and proceeded to comply as requested. He took a note of the ID number on his phone and proceed to knock on the door in front of our apartment. Since no one answered he asked for her key to try to open the other door (it would be bad if it would open!) and then gave it back to her. Let me start by saying that both of us registered in less than 14 days since we arrived and I've already received my B permit. She is just waiting for hers since she registered a week after me (we were still waiting for the marriage certificate from the embassy). We both come from Portugal.

While this was happening she could ear his colleagues knocking on other doors especially in one of them where they insisted and knocked really hard.

After this they stood at the entrance of the building for some time and then left. They came in 2 normal cars (not official police cars) and they didn't have their uniforms.

I lived 33 years in my home country and never saw an action like this by the police. I guess this is not normal right? I'm just asking to get some sense out of this.
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Old 11.09.2020, 09:36
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

They were looking for someone.

It is normal.

I have two cop friends who never wear uniforms, so that is also normal.

Tom
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Old 11.09.2020, 09:45
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

I agree this is unusual. Asking to be let into someone elseís apartment is not on.

As Tom suggests they were likely looking for someone, but there are rules they should follow.
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Old 11.09.2020, 09:52
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

For me is ok if Police is looking for someone. I would ask their name, supervisor name, police station and warrant by a judge.

If they are looking for someone they need to have a description and they need to provide you.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:10
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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For me is ok if Police is looking for someone. I would ask their name, supervisor name, police station and warrant by a judge.

If they are looking for someone they need to have a description and they need to provide you.
No, they donít need to provide anything. No, they donít need a warrant either if they have any reason to believe that a crime is in progress.

I obviously donít know what these two were looking for but itís very normal for Swiss police to drive unmarked cars and not wear uniforms.

One of the typical problems with furnished temporary apartments is illegal prostitution... does the building have a lot of people?
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:17
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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No, they donít need to provide anything. No, they donít need a warrant either if they have any reason to believe that a crime is in progress.

I obviously donít know what these two were looking for but itís very normal for Swiss police to drive unmarked cars and not wear uniforms.

One of the typical problems with furnished temporary apartments is illegal prostitution... does the building have a lot of people?
I would estimate around 50 people.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:22
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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I would estimate around 50 people.
I wouldnít worry about it much. The only thing thatís a bit odd is the cop asking if your key fits the neighbors door... but then are not all cops the brightest crayons in the box...
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:28
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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I wouldnít worry about it much. The only thing thatís a bit odd is the cop asking if your key fits the neighbors door... but then are not all cops the brightest crayons in the box...
Well if my key opened the other apartment door I would move today to a hotel until I move to the permanent apartment! I also can't understand why he even tried that.

I hope they do find whoever they are looking for. I just don't know the need of having registered my wife ID number.
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Old 11.09.2020, 19:43
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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I agree this is unusual. Asking to be let into someone else’s apartment is not on.

As Tom suggests they were likely looking for someone, but there are rules they should follow.
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No, they don’t need to provide anything. No, they don’t need a warrant either if they have any reason to believe that a crime is in progress.

I obviously don’t know what these two were looking for but it’s very normal for Swiss police to drive unmarked cars and not wear uniforms.
Normal? Only for you

https://www.augenauf.ch/bs/archiv/we...ine_rechte.pdf

This is common knowledge but here it goes (translated for english)

The police officers have to tell you their name on request, plainclothes police officers show you the ID.

In the event of an attack, make a note of the names of the police officers, the place, date, time and names and addresses of
any witnesses. This is important for the complaints against the police
(the reason i asked for police station and supervisor, you should always ask)

Searches in public (e.g. removing your underpants) are not permitted.

Request that the police search you in your car or at the post. (Again police station)

The police are only allowed to detain, arrest or detain you in specific, legally prescribed cases
to arrest. There must be very specific grounds for suspicion that you have committed a misdemeanor or a crime
committed


And Last my favourite:

You have the right to refuse to testify and refusal of identification


PS; Police can not say...we are looking for a red car...yours is red. They need very specific grounds and prove to you. I believe a crime is happening? Ok show me the grounds.

Nope...the standard protocols do not allow this. They need to have something else on you. They can lie of course to make a search but if you know the protocols does not work like that .
Or else everyone was searched for drugs. Does not work like that.

PS: The algorithm to choose you, your apartment, your building can not be based ....ok we are police....not anywhere in the world

Last edited by Superfast; 11.09.2020 at 19:56.
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Old 12.09.2020, 11:13
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Normal? Only for you
1. the cops did show ID
2. yes, just as I said: they donít need a warrant if they have reasons to believe that a crime is in process
3. Yes, I prefer my cops in plain clothes. Because thatís a little more discrete and given how Swiss neighbors behave do you not want the whole village debating why the cops went to that Auslšnder again...

All in all: this isnít South Central LA.
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Old 12.09.2020, 21:02
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Normal? Only for you


And Last my favourite:

You have the right to refuse to testify and refusal of identification

Sorry what a crappy and dangerous advice (and also wrongly translated).

What you can refuse is fingerprinting, being photographed, and DNA swaps.
But you must provide your identity, and if you are not Swiss you must produce a valid passport or ID card within appropriated time. You can leave passport/ID at home but in most cantons (police law is cantons law) they can take you to the station (this is not considered as an arrest) to verify your details. If you refuse to identify yourself they might arrest you and in that instance they are allowed to take fingerprints, photographs, DNA samples and everything else which might be useful to establish your identity.
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Old 12.09.2020, 21:07
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Sorry what a crappy and dangerous advice (and also wrongly translated).

What you can refuse is fingerprinting, being photographed, and DNA swaps.
But you must provide your identity, and if you are not Swiss you must produce a valid passport or ID card within appropriated time. You can leave passport/ID at home but in most cantons (police law is cantons law) they can take you to the station (this is not considered as an arrest) to verify your details. If you refuse to identify yourself they might arrest you and in that instance they are allowed to take fingerprints, photographs, DNA samples and everything else which might be useful to establish your identity.
They can. The question though is how bloody minded they are about it and how many better things they have to do.

I have been checked by the police twice without having an ID on me and when I told them my name, address and date of birth they took my word for it. I guess it helps if you are otherwise friendly and cooperative and give them no cause for bloody mindedness.
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Old 12.09.2020, 01:04
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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No, they don’t need to provide anything. No, they don’t need a warrant either if they have any reason to believe that a crime is in progress.

I obviously don’t know what these two were looking for but it’s very normal for Swiss police to drive unmarked cars and not wear uniforms.

One of the typical problems with furnished temporary apartments is illegal prostitution... does the building have a lot of people?
Not quite true. They can only go in without a warrant if there is "Gefahr im Verzug", if they have reasonable grounds to believe a crime is actually happening or about to happen or they are actively pursuing a suspect who will escape if they do not act immediately. The fact that somebody they might want to talk to possibly lives in that apartment, but the only reason they came for him on Thursday is because Wednesday was bingo night at the police station and on Tuesday the boss had a headache, that is not "Gefahr im Verzug".

Of course in reality police will twist the interpretation of "reasonable grounds" to the extreme and can make paperwork vanish if anybody demands an investigation. But even so there is a limit to how much they can get away with and they know when they reach that limit.

The guys who go after illegal prostitutes don't wear battle gear or knock on doors loudly but go in pretending to be normal inconspicuous clients. Illegal prostitutes aren't stupid and will vanish through the back door as soon as anything loud and dangerous appears at the front door.
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Old 12.09.2020, 05:02
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Illegal prostitutes aren't stupid and will vanish through the back door as soon as anything loud and dangerous appears at the front door.
Ordinary apartments don't have back doors though, not around here.
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Old 11.09.2020, 10:17
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

Not related, but may be of interest to some...

I remember working from home in my little London terrace house when I heard a LOT of aggressive shouting outside, then a thundering bashing on my front door. I raced to the door, to be met by a chap in full SWAT type gear and pointing a semi automatic gun at me!

He screamed at me "anyone else in the house" and with my reply of no, he shouted an instruction to close my door, lock it, get down and stay away from the windows.

Absolutely bemused, and a little scared, I followed his instructions, but could still hear the shouting happening outside, and could hear them banging on the doors of my neighbours. And then it went quiet.

After what seemed like an age, I peeped out of the window and saw my street full of of heavily armed cops, pointing guns at the house 3 doors away. And a little while later, a more "normal" knock on the door, with a voice telling me it was ok to open up. At which point I could see someone being ushered into a police wagon and a lot of cops carrying plastic bags to another wagon.

The chap there told me they were on the hunt for a known meth dealer, who was operating a lab in that house 3 doors down, and who had recently killed a policeman. That they'd narrowed the location of this person down to our group of houses, and that they were following their normal approach - make a lot of noise, and the innocent people will have curiosity to find out more. The "baddies" will know its the police, and won't open the door.

I've always wondered what would have happened if I wasn't home that day - would I have returned to work to find my door had been bashed open?
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Old 11.09.2020, 12:29
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Not related, but may be of interest to some...

I remember working from home in my little London terrace house when I heard a LOT of aggressive shouting outside, then a thundering bashing on my front door. I raced to the door, to be met by a chap in full SWAT type gear and pointing a semi automatic gun at me!

He screamed at me "anyone else in the house" and with my reply of no, he shouted an instruction to close my door, lock it, get down and stay away from the windows.

Absolutely bemused, and a little scared, I followed his instructions, but could still hear the shouting happening outside, and could hear them banging on the doors of my neighbours. And then it went quiet.

After what seemed like an age, I peeped out of the window and saw my street full of of heavily armed cops, pointing guns at the house 3 doors away. And a little while later, a more "normal" knock on the door, with a voice telling me it was ok to open up. At which point I could see someone being ushered into a police wagon and a lot of cops carrying plastic bags to another wagon.

The chap there told me they were on the hunt for a known meth dealer, who was operating a lab in that house 3 doors down, and who had recently killed a policeman. That they'd narrowed the location of this person down to our group of houses, and that they were following their normal approach - make a lot of noise, and the innocent people will have curiosity to find out more. The "baddies" will know its the police, and won't open the door.

I've always wondered what would have happened if I wasn't home that day - would I have returned to work to find my door had been bashed open?
About 20 years ago, I was sitting outside a bar in the Niederdorf having a beer. Several police vans drew up and policemen in helmets, body armour and with guns assembled in the street, looking up at the building opposite. They were tense and engrossed in some sort of conversation. Two of them went up to the door and tried the handle and another was surveying the windows or roof with binoculars. I thought I was about to witness a show, courtesy of the Swiss taxpayer. They didn't seem at all concerned about any of us who were watching.

Then suddenly they all got back into their vans and drove away.
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Old 11.09.2020, 12:37
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Then suddenly they all got back into their vans and drove away.
The "Oh S*it, we forgot the keys in the office" moment
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Old 11.09.2020, 14:45
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

Exact same thing happened to me as well at 7 am whilst I was sleeping so lots of initial aggressive knocking, short interrogation about the neighbor whereabouts and trying my keys without even asking (just a "I will quickly try the keys" while taking them). I learned later it was drug police looking for the neighbor as they arrested a friend of his, they just wanted to have a look in the room to confirm he was not also involved in the trade.
I don't know anyone else who has experienced this so it is definitely rare unless you live in temporary apartments or very low rent places with lots of turnover.
They should be in uniform and polite in their interactions I agree with that. Especially if there is no arrest warrant or house search order.

Last edited by Meerkat33; 11.09.2020 at 14:56.
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Old 11.09.2020, 14:49
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

This is why people hate cops.

This interaction didn't need to go this way. They would have the same effect with a more polite demeanor and now you and your wife wouldn't be so nervous around the cops.
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Old 12.09.2020, 21:30
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Re: Police knocking on the door asking for ID

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Not related, but may be of interest to some...

I remember working from home in my little London terrace house when I heard a LOT of aggressive shouting outside, then a thundering bashing on my front door. I raced to the door, to be met by a chap in full SWAT type gear and pointing a semi automatic gun at me!
At this point your life depended on a little 1 by 5 mm surface on a piece of metal deep inside the guns innards, a piece of metal made by a manufacturer trying to squeeze every dollar of profit from that gun....
 




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