Use of force against intruders

Being confronted by an intruder in your home is thankfully a rare occurrence but nevertheless, can be a frightening prospect.

In recent years there has been some concern about the support offered by the law for householders who find themselves in this situation and confusion regarding how much force they can use to defend themselves.

To address this, the Association of Chief Police Officers together with the Crown Prosecution Service have published a leaflet to inform householders on the force they can use to defend themselves and others against intruders in their homes.

The leaflet explains that householders can use reasonable force to defend themselves, their families and homes and also provides a brief overview of how the police and Crown Prosecution Service will deal with incidents of this kind.

In the heat of the moment, people usually act instinctively and by law householders can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others if they honestly believe it is necessary.

Some of the points raised in the leaflet include the fact that, as a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can use in self-defence and that householders do not have to wait to be attacked before using defensive force themselves.

The police have a duty to investigate all incidents involving death or injury and will weigh out all the facts when they are investigating a case. Although the intruder would have caused the scene to arise in the first place enquiries will still need to be made.

Very few householders have ever been prosecuted for actions resulting from the use of force against intruders. However, you must remember that intruders can be potentially dangerous and it is always best to ensure your safety and the safety of others before you confront them.

The 'Householders and the Use of Force Against Intruders' leaflet can be downloaded from the library section of this website.

More information about how to help keep your house, property and yourself safe from crime can be found in the Advice centre section of this website.

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