UK & World News
Homeowners Get New Rights To Attack Burglars
Frightened householders who over-react when confronted by burglars will get more protection under new Government plans.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling plans to change the law to ensure even householders who use force in a way that may seem disproportionate in the cold light of day will be protected from prosecution.
It comes after Britain's most senior judge reinforced the notion that a person's home is their castle, saying furious householders have the right to get rid of burglars and are not expected to remain calm when confronted by intruders.
"Being confronted by an intruder in your own home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. "That is why I am strengthening the current law," Mr Grayling said.
"Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way. We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all, and I am very pleased to be today delivering on the pledge that we made in Opposition."
Force which is "grossly disproportionate" will still be against the law, but this is a higher bar than the current law which says force must always be proportionate.
Primary legislation will be needed before the changes can come into force and no specific parliamentary time for this has yet been set.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said last month that burglary was an offence against the person, should always be treated seriously, and stressed that householders have the right to use force "to get rid of the burglar".
Community sentences are also being toughened up to ensure that all of the 220,000 orders handed out a year include a "proper punishment".
Overhauling his predecessor Ken Clarke's plans for a rehabilitation revolution, Mr Grayling said: "Yes, we should be looking to rehabilitate. But if someone has committed an offence, they also need to receive a proper punishment for it. That's part of how we can tackle re-offending and make these sentences really effective."
what do you think?
Wey hey bout time
This is wrong. The Chancellor should have simply announced that burglars surrender all their rights under all laws once they commence their crime.
Unfortunately, I've always found the Conservatives good at talk, but very little actual action. If it costs money, it won't happen. They don't believe in investment. Remember, 'Short, sharp, shock'? That didn't last long.
Its either right or wrong to use force. What amount of force is disproportionate? Its subjective and hard to know what the police, cps and courts will find reasonable. Its dark, your afraid and angry you hit out and batter someone half to death. In the dark it could have been the next world champion boxer pinching your stuff. The lights come on and its some young kid. Will that look disproportionate to the legal system or not?
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I do like the idea of all sentences having a punishment element though... Would have though that should have always been the case. Community Service although not punishment enough, is still some punishment, by the nature of having to do it under order of the court or am I missing something?
Mike A Smith
And about time too. The do-gooders will moan, as usual, but decent people will be very much in favour. Hope the law changes sooner rather than later, then we might feel safer in our own homes.
Dream on Mike, do you really think Chris Grayling has intentions to change the law? Believe it or not, you will find the law is adequate on this, the adrenaline, red mist etc are factors taken into account already. Very few people are convicted for attacking a burglar in their homes. You are allowed to use whatever force you feel is required to protect yourself and your family. And no, I'm not a doogooder and believe burglars should take a good beating if caught red handed. .
Whilst this is great news for us homeowners does it mean they will come up with a list of what you can and can't do? Example its ok to tie them up until police arrive, but not ok to knock them unconscious with your baseball bat?? Remember we ourselves are animals and in this situation instinct kicks in and with pints of adrenaline pumping through our veins its gonna be the red mist situation. Having said all that it is a step in the right direction.
Windows Live User
You have around 2 secs to decide what is or is not disproportionate in the heat of battle - - - -Good luck Fact is adrenaline takes over so you are not in full control
This is just waffle, people can use force to defend themselves and it is up to the courts to decide if more than excessive force was used. Remember first and foremost ...this is a politician telling you this, so we know it is a lie, And by the way, all he seeking is clarity on the law. I'll give it to him now. Each case is treated individually and judged on individual factors, that is how justice works. All this is pure tripe by tories wanting to please the electorate with rhetoric on nothing. This is just usual political conference speak, ignore it. That way you won't be dissapointed.
Good an englishmans home is his castle, but i do not want to become like the americans where everybody can keep weapons under the bed, just in case.
Actually the headline for this article is very misleading. We already have those rights. The right of self-defence is enshrined in law. There are more people who have NOT been prosecuted over the death of a burglar in their home than have been. You do not have to wait to be attacked yourself before taking action and you can even use a weapon. If however the burglar does a runner and legs it and you go after him and give him/her a good hiding, it's a different matter, because it is not then self-defence. You will be a hero still in my eyes, but in the eyes of the law, you will be prosecuted....to some degree anyways.
Reading some of the comments above ,theres too many using the subject as a political tool to take the opportunity to slag of a labour politition or the conservative leader.please stick to the subject in question.is this new law the right way forward.?
Shaun, there is NO new law. Having now seen Cameron and Grayling talking about this, we can now see it for what it is, a NONE story. "We want people to understand that is you use force to defend yourself against a burglar, that the law will be on your side" Guess what, it already is.
Thank God for that. Previously when attacked in my own home I used to sit back and have a little think before deciding to throw a flannel, tea towel or watermelon pip at them in an attempt to frighten off the attacker whilst ensuring I did not use excessive force.. Now i'll hit them with baseball bats in the face.
Of course I hope you all realise how difficult this is for me. Being the only genius on the forum can be frustrating at times.
Shaun, there is NO new law. Having now seen Cameron and Grayling talking about this, we can now see it for what it is, a NONE story. "We want people to understand that if you use force to defend yourself against a burglar, the law will be on your side" Guess what, it already is. If you doubt this, it can only be because you are a Sun reader or Daily Mail reader. I'm certainly not using this debate as a political tool, whichever party was saying it, I'd be saying exactly the same thing. They needed a crowd pleaser and this is it. I'm going to actually promise you now that there will not be one single change to the law in this matter. Don't believe in the tabloid comics and look at reality, the law is already on your side.
Micheal ive got no idea wht you should think im a sun reader or buy any particular news paper. When this news item has been on the bbc news all morning.as i see it we dont have adequate laws when it comes to self defence laws though how any goverment can determine what is resonable self defence and what is over the top im not sure ,where the line should be drawn is the subject in question.what is too far when you and your family are being burgled by balaclava bandits armed with crowbars in the middle of the night.
...........I HAVE A SHOTGUN.......(and licence) DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN SHOOT THE VARMINTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In some cases YES! There are more people who have used the "legal" guns and have not been prosecuted than those who have.
I have not yet seen a response from the criminal fraternity on this blog. It will be interesting to see their take on it, will they claim that this is against their human rights and take it to the EU Court? As a lot have alread commented it nothing new the law has always been there it is the interpretation that the judge puts on it and how they direct a jury but it should send a message and the precedence should be established, it OK to protect your home and family form the criminal.
I vety much agree it is the interpretation and the guidelines of any law the judge must interpret.what guidelines exist at the moment.none as im aware.
To back up my comment.look at the terry martin case
If someone broke into my house I would use as much force as I possibly could to get rid of the scrote. It's MY house and I have worked hard to pay for the things in MY house and I refuse to let some low life steal from me. No one should have to worry about repercussions in this situation, except for the scummy thief!
they're not telling us anything new or changing anything - always had right to use force - no one been prosecuted for it. tories making out they're giving us something new