and Association of Chief Police Officers leaflet* on
'Householders and the use of force against intruders,' home
secretary Charles Clarke said:
'The government announced last month that following discussions with
chief police officers, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and
the CPS, the law on self defence was sound. I firmly believe it is
the right of every British citizen to protect himself, his family and
his home from intruders of any kind.
'Ken McDonald, the director of Public Prosecutions, has made it clear
that householders will only be prosecuted if they use very excessive
force in defending their home against intruders. The CPS informal
survey also demonstrates that the number of such cases brought before
the courts is extremely low. Ken McDonald also said that 'homeowners
not prosecuted include those who have shot and stabbed burglars'.
'The key issue now is ensuring that householders understand the law.
I very much welcome the leaflet that the CPS and ACPO have published
today. It sets out in plain language what householders' rights are
and the level of force they can use when confronted by an intruder.
'This is essential to the government's commitment to making the law
on self defence clearer to householders.
'The government is supporting the work of the CPS and ACPO to
disseminate this information to ensure it reaches as many members of
the public as possible. It is vital that the public understand the
law and have confidence in the criminal justice system.'
Attorney general Lord Goldsmith said:
'I very much welcome the guidance that has been published by ACPO and
the CPS. Its swift production is in response to public concern over
this issue and should provide people with reassurance.
'The guidance makes clear that the law supports the rights of
householders to protect themselves, their families and their property
against intruders by the use of reasonable force.'
1. A copy of the CPS/ACPO guidance is available here.
2. A written ministerial statement by the home secretary was laid
before parliament today.
3. The home secretary Charles Clarke announced on 12 January that
following consultations with the CPS and ACPO, he concluded that the
law is sound but needs to be explained to householders.
4. The CPS set out further detail on cases where householders have
not been prosecuted for violence against intruders on 13 January.