It’s unfortunate for anyone to have their home burgled, but it can be much scarier when you are still in the home. We have previously made a guide on what to do when faced with a burglar, however this post is going to look at the legal side of force against intruders. We would never encourage anyone to fight against them, unless they of course are using force against you and you feel your life is in danger. If all they want is belongings, let them have them. You have to stop and think “is that object or item worth risking my life for?”. But what happens when you need to become forceful? Below is a statement taken from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and chief constables on the laws that can, or can’t protect you.
They say that anyone is allowed to use reasonable force to protect themselves or others from burglars, or to even carry out a citizens arrest if possible. They see “reasonable” to be the persons best judgement on how much force is needed in the heat of the moment. The police will determine the force used against the fear and terror felt by the person responsible. So the more scared you are/were, the more force they allow for. There is a term called disproportionate force which protects you from prosecution should you, in hindsight, apply too much force. In these cases the law will give you the benefit of the doubt, if you were under extreme circumstances. This law only counts for self defence and protection of others, not the protection of personal items.
Should your actions become grossly disproportionate the law will not protect you. So for example, if you had apprehended the criminal but went on to hit them that would count as grossly disproportionate. Many think that you must wait to be attacked before you can fight back but this actually isn’t the case. You are allowed to lawfully defend yourself first, as long as you’re in your own home and in fear of your safety. The rules stay mainly the same, if the intruder dies. If you’re seen to have been acting lawfully and only acting in self defence you will not be prosecuted. You would only be prosecuted if you intentionally caused harm beyond what’s needed or if you have been aware of the intruder and set traps to bring harm to them.
If the intruder begins to run away with your property you are allowed to chase them and make a citizens arrest. The law allows for single blows and rugby tackles to recover property, however anything beyond this can be seen as unlawful as you’re no longer in your home. As long as you follow the rules above, you are fully protected by the law. Hopefully you will never have to deal with such a situation, but at least you are now prepared with the right information. If you’d like to talk to us about further protecting yourself with CCTV or other home security please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.