Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Fisking the home office advice...

I just had to. My work is in parentheses....

What is the purpose of this statement?

(To keep the voters quiet without our actually having to fix a problem.)

It is a rare and frightening prospect to be confronted by an intruder in your own home.

(No, it's an increasingly ordinary problem and it should be an enraging one.)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Chief Constables are responding to public concern over the support offered by the law and confusion about householders defending themselves.

( Responding to the media reports of outrage, not to the problem itself which has been growing for some time. )

We want a criminal justice system that reaches fair decisions, has the confidence of law-abiding citizens and encourages them actively to support the police and prosecutors in the fight against crime.

( We know what YOU want- a criminal justice system which protects you. Tough, we are in charge. SUBJECTS, remember?)

Wherever possible you should call the police.

( Although you, the burglars, rapists, killers, the police, and the authors of this statement all know that the police will not arrive until the harm has been done. )

The following summarises the position when you are faced with an intruder in your home, and provides a brief overview of how the police and CPS will deal with any such events.

( You're at the intruders' mercy, and we'll deal with it as we think best with the advantages of safety and hindsight. )

Does the law protect me?

( Only if you only do what we want you to do. )

What is ‘reasonable force’?

(We'll decide that, after you've done whatever you do.)

Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime.

( That's as clear as it gets, folks. )

You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment.

( We'll make the fine judgements afterwards from the aforesaid vantages of safety and hindsight. )

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 selfdefence.

( If we agree. But you'll notice that we can't be bothered to proofread this and put a space between self and defence. Nor do we understand the correct meaning of instinctively.)

This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon.

( As long as it's not a weapon of which we disapprove, ot one which has effects of which we disapprove, or it or its results offend our political, academic, or media masters. And to hand means it had better not look like you thought about this beforehand. If it's a baseball bat, you'd better have a uniform, cleats, and a place on a team roster.)

As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.

( Again, as long as we see it as extreme or your fear as reasonable. You'd better hope you aren't scared by a bunch of 15 year olds. )

Do I have to wait to be attacked?

( You had better. )

No, not if you are in your own home and in fear for yourself or others. In those circumstances the law does not require you to wait to be attacked before using defensive force yourself.

( But you had better be able to convince the aforesaid masters that attack, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE was in the minds of the assailants, I'm sorry, visitors. Good luck with that.)

What if the intruder dies?

( By the time it's all over, you will wish you had instead. )

If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully.

( But we might still criminally prosecute you, and you WILL be sued civilly. Even if no lawyer will take the case, we will pay for one with your tax money. For HIM, not you, of course. Your legal bills will reduce you to penury even if you avoid prison. )

Indeed, there are several such cases where the householder has not been prosecuted.

(Yes, several householders have escaped. We just wanted to bring that up. Not to deter you or anything...)

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,

( or someone such as the criminal's lawyer or family will get money if it can convince us you did these things... )

you would be acting with very excessive and gratuitous force and could be prosecuted.

( So much for no fine judgements expected in the heat of the moment. )

What if I chase them as they run off?

( Hope you are slow, and that they don't have friends outside. )

This situation is different as you are no longer acting in self-defence and so the same degree of force may not be reasonable.

( Like we said... )

However, you are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen’s arrest.

( We love competition that makes us look bad. )

You should consider your own safety and, for example, whether the police have been called.

( That's for when we beat you up. )

A rugby tackle or a single blow would probably be reasonable.

( Probably... )

Acting out of malice and revenge with the intent of inflicting punishment through injury or death would not.

( Again, the issue here is whether someone can convince us or the media to force us to see it that way... )

Will you believe the intruder rather than me?

( It depends. Are our jobs more threatened by you or by the forces arrayed against you? The richer and better connected you are, the better it looks for you.)

The police weigh all the facts when investigating an incident.

( This includes facts you couldn't know at the time, like the intruder's age, and facts that develop later, like media pressure. )

This includes the fact that the intruder caused the situation to arise in the first place.

( But that's not nearly as important as keeping our bosses and various ethnic pressure groups happy. )

We hope that everyone understands that the police have a duty to investigate incidents involving a death or injury. Things are not always as they seem. On occasions people pretend a burglary has taken place to cover up other crimes such as a fight between drug dealers.

( And of course this is directed at them, they model their conduct on advice like this. Also, we are too stupid and ignorant to tell a drug dealer from an honest citizen.)

How would the police and CPS handle the investigation and treat me?

( You'll find out, won't you? )

In considering these cases Chief Constables and the Director of Public Prosecutions (Head of the CPS) are determined that they must be investigated and reviewed as swiftly and as sympathetically as possible. In some cases, for instance where the facts are very clear, or where less serious injuries are involved, the investigation will be concluded very quickly, without any need for arrest. In more complicated cases, such as where a death or serious injury occurs, more detailed enquiries will be necessary.

( Note that we say SOME CASES might be handled without arrest. Do you feel lucky? )

The police may need to conduct a forensic examination and/or obtain your account of events.


To ensure such cases are dealt with as swiftly and sympathetically as possible, the police and CPS will take special measures namely:
* An experienced investigator will oversee the case

(if one is available and not too busy); and

* If it goes as far as CPS considering the evidence, the case will be prioritised to ensure a senior lawyer makes a quick

(by our standards)


( always subject to change of course.).

It is a fact that very few householders have ever been prosecuted for actions resulting from the use of force against intruders.

(Just thought you might like another reminder.)