There have been 677 reported burglaries in the UK in 2011/2012. These figures released by the police have fallen from 958 in 2001/2002.
Everyone would agree that one of your biggest fears is an intruder entering your home. At this point you would want to protect your home at all costs as the intruder is trespassing on private property.
The current law within the UK states that you can use ‘reasonable force’ to defend yourself. The term reasonable force is one that is up for debate as one person’s understanding of reasonable force can differ from another.
Therefore this law is very unclear about how far you can go to defend your home. David Cameron had this to say on the matter on 9th October 2012:
“When that burglar crosses your threshold, invades your home, threatens your family, they give up their rights,”
David Cameron here is stating that the law will be on the homeowner’s side in this situation. He has said that if you were to stab a burglar if he was unconscious then that would be grossly disproportionate. However, what else is defined as reasonable force? Should burglars be subjected to such brutal force if they have broken into a home?
In 2010 Munir Hussain, a millionaire businessman, was jailed for 30 months after attacking a burglar with a bat after his family were threatened by burglars. A month after his conviction he was freed by the Lord Chief Justice. His message was clear and simple; a householder has the right to defend his family.
Even more recently, in September this year, Andy Ferrie and his wife were held for three days on GBH charges, after they shot two burglars. They were eventually not prosecuted against.
These two cases raise a startling issue. Both used what most people would deem to be unreasonable force.
Personally, I feel you should use a weapon to defend your home, as I have the view rather them than me. If they have trespassed into my home I believe they would have the intent to cause harm, whether It is physical or mental.
In addition, how can we ever really define reasonable force, especially when the two case studies I have highlighted have used excessive force, when this sort of act would be prosecuted in normal day to day life.
Has the law just opened up a situation where unless the burglar is killed any sort of force would be acceptable?
Share any views you may have with us.
By Daniel Lifton