The Englishman’s Home

November 20, 2005

Blair’s government just announced it won’t give Brits more legal protection to take down burglars in their homes – it says they’re free to use “instinctively necessary” force. In practice, almost all homeowners will need to use a shotgun to take down a burglar and the last guy that tried that was jailed for 5 years.

The Home Secretary (Brit Attorney General) says that all the law enforcers agree with him that Brit homeowners don’t need more legal protection to defend their property:

“I believe the law as it stands does not need to change. It already provides householders and shopkeepers with the powers they need to protect themselves, their family and their property.

“The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service have made clear that the law will protect anyone who fought back using whatever force they think is instinctively necessary in the heat of the moment.

Let’s take a look at what force is actually necessary.

The assailant will be male, between 16 and 28, in the bottom quartile of intelligence, dressed in working clothes, of a violent disposition, probably quite strong, armed at least with the tools he used to gain entry (and probably a knife), and possibly drugged.

The homeowner will, on average, be older, weaker, and possibly female; will have just woken up, be dressed in sleepwear, and untrained in physical combat. They may not have their glasses on/contacts in. So in almost all cases they’re going to come of worse from any kind of “instinctive” combat.

Since law-abiding Brits can’t keep handguns, the only feasible defensive weapon is a shotgun, which can still be legally held by some citizens. Two rounds into the torso at about 3 yards will take down any assailant, probably forever.

But I rather doubt that The Home Secretary, Chief Police Officers and Crown Prosecution Service would regard this as “instinctively necessary” force, since it requires propositioning of a loaded weapon, selection of aiming point, and – to prevent them being rushed – firing without warning.

Still, hopefully a stout citizen will take the Home Secretary at his word.