As a homeowner, you’ve probably wondered what you should do and what you’re allowed to do by the law if you are confronted by a burglar. Consider the scenario below:
It’s Saturday morning in the early hours of the morning. You’re brushing your teeth before retiring for the night while the kids are all fast asleep in their beds.
Suddenly, banging can be heard coming from the kitchen. However, everyone is upstairs, including your dog, who is sleeping at the foot of your bed.
You quietly make your way downstairs to see what’s going on. You carefully open the door to your kitchen. Nothing’s there.
You’re relieved, but just in case, you take the largest knife on the block and go around the house to examine the rest of it.
As you pass into the lounge, you see something out of the corner of your eye. A figure wearing full black.
So, what exactly do you do?
It’s a situation that will undoubtedly terrify many people. It seems natural that we should be able to defend ourselves in such a dreadful scenario, but few of us know how far we can go.
Examining the law of self-defence
There is a widespread misconception that British law favours intruders and that we have far less right to use force to defend ourselves against intruders than some other nations.
In the UK, however, there was no explicit legislation that applied to self-defence against burglars before 2013. Instead, a broad test was used in every situation of self-defence, whether inside or outside the house and whether “reasonable force” was used. Many people believed this was unjust since we demand a higher level of safety and security in our own homes.
The law has evolved since then however. Previously, a homeowner could not use “excessive” force in self-defence, but the new legislation allows it if the force is not “grossly disproportionate.”
Applying the law to real life
All of this is fine, but how does this legal jargon apply in the current world? Following up on our last scenario, here’s an illustration of what may have occurred and if it would have gotten you in trouble. However, keep in mind that these are only instances, and the results in comparable real-life situations may change.
The guy screams at you and brandishes a knife. You retaliate with your knife, wounding him badly.
You may use reasonable force “in the heat of the moment” to defend yourself from a crime in your own house, according to the law. Using an item as a weapon is one example of this.
You dash towards the guy with a knife. You assault him and wound him badly.
The law does not compel you to wait to be assaulted before employing defensive force on yourself or others if you are really in danger.
In any of the above scenarios, the attacker dies.
You would not likely be charged with a crime if the force you used was not excessive and did not go beyond what you did in the heat of the moment to defend yourself. There have been instances when the homeowner has not even been charged.
You stun the attacker at first, but you keep assaulting him after that in order to get retribution.
The level of force you employed in this scenario might be regarded as “grossly disproportionate.” Because the assailant had already been stunned, you were no longer in danger, and any extra force was not warranted.
You were aware of the intended break-in and devised a number of traps for him/her.
One is triggered by the burglar, resulting in physical harm. You should have called the police if you were aware of the planned robbery. As a result, this use of force is considered highly disproportionate and unreasonable, and you will almost certainly be convicted.
The assailant flees with a backpack full of your belongings. You chase him down, tackle him to the ground, and injure him.
Because you are no longer in danger because the perpetrator is fleeing, you cannot depend on self-defense legislation. As a result, the same level of force may not be considered appropriate. However, you are still permitted to retrieve your property with reasonable force. You may also hold the invader until the cops come.
When happens when the police arrive?
This varies according to the specific circumstances.
All situations involving self-defense legislation will be handled as quickly and sensitively as feasible, according to the director of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
There will most likely be no need to initiate an arrest if the invader has just minor injuries.
However, if there is a fatality or a significant injury, the issue gets much more difficult, and you may be held for the duration of the inquiry. A forensic inspection of your residence may also be required by the police.
We understand that in the midst of a terrifying situation like this, it may be difficult to respond logically and calmly. After all, it is for this reason that the law of self-defense exists.
If you are confronted with an intruder, your first responsibility should be to call the police as quickly as possible. Never put your safety in jeopardy needlessly and it is always best to avoid direct confrontation as this can always have unintended consequences for both you and the intruder.
Use technology to deter burglars
Monitored alarms are a great way to deter intruders and protect your property and family members. A monitored alarm means that you need never have to worry about always being able to check your security system personally. You can relax in the knowledge that trained operatives at a state-of-the-art Alarm Receiving Centre oversee and respond appropriately to any alarm activations. Optional personal panic alarms and medical alert fobs mean that not just your property is protected but also your family members. Let Ultimate Alarms install a monitored security system for you to deliver professional levels of protection in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire & Dunbartonshire.