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Clear and precise review of existing self defence laws

Comment 10th July 2010

I'd like to see an extension to the current self defence laws. We've all seen instances where householders have been taken to court for protecting their family from intruders. This needs to stop. It's the reason why people put their head down and walk on when they see a crime taking place in the street. They have a genuine fear of prosecution. 

Youths harassing vulnerable members of our communities know the law is on their side, particularly if they are under age. 

I'd like to see the law open to allowing disabled people, elderly people and victims of serious crime the right to own a pepper spray/taser, even initially only in their own homes. This would be subject to a licence which would be retracted if the law of use was breached. They are not always as capable of self defence as other members of the community and should be afforded additional help and assurances. 

I'd like to see the police working with the community, offering free self defence classes to those most at risk. This would help build relationships back between police and public. 

The public needs to have it's confidence restored because there aren't enough police to be on every street corner. People must be confident that self defence will be unlikely to result in prosecution, especially if someone breaks into their house. The law should presume the intruder is armed and willing to use a weapon and allow the occupier to use self defence accordingly. 

Why does this matter?

'Reasonable force'  means different things to different people and cannot be applied to every situation. What's reasonable to a 6ft man whose house is being broken into is different to an elderly woman, or a young mother/father living alone with a baby in the house. People do not consider what is 'reasonable' when they feel their life is at risk. This law needs serious review. 

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