15 prosecutions sounds resonable; any idea how many in depth investigations there were? I read in an article last week that a police department out your way spent 10,000 Pounds Sterling gathering evidence to convict a nursery school teacher of driving while eating an apple; one wonders how tenacious the same officers would be investigating a murder, and what impact that would have on the citizen.
From the Times UK Online.
Advice on tackling intruders given to householders
Police are issuing a leaflet advising householders how much force they can use against burglars.
The guidelines come nearly three weeks after Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, announced the law would not be changed to allow more violence to be used against intruders.
Today's leaflet from the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers will attempt to clear up confusion on how much force a resident can be used to defend their homes without being charged themselves.
At present the law says "reasonable force" can be used by householders, but campaigners complain that too many are subject to police investigation.
A CPS spokesman said: "The leaflet gives some guidance on what might be regarded as reasonable force."
The guidance, which appears in a Q&A form, tells readers: "You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in self-defence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon."
It also covers the question: What if the intruder dies?
The answer is: "If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully. Indeed, there are several such cases where the householder has not been prosecuted. However, if, for example: having knocked someone unconscious, you then decided to further hurt or kill them to punish them; or you knew of an intended intruder and set a trap to hurt or to kill them rather than involve the police, you would be acting with very excessive and gratuitous force and could be prosecuted."
The publication will be distributed through Citizens' Advice Bureaux and police forces in England and Wales.
Mr Clarke said last month that discussions with police and prosecutors had concluded that the existing law was "sound".
He called on officials to educate the public about how far they can go to defend their property under current law.
Today he said he the leaflet "sets out in plain language what householders' rights are and the level of force they can use when confronted by an intruder".
The debate over householders' rights was triggered by Sir John Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, saying people should be allowed to use what force was necessary when tackling intruders without facing prosecution.
In the past 15 years, only 11 people had been prosecuted after attacking intruders, including cases in which burglars had been pursued and shot as they fled, and one in which an intruder was tied up and set alight.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/02/01/uburglars.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/02/01/ixportaltop.html