The Sunday Telegraph today launches a campaign for the law to be changed to give householders the right to use whatever force is necessary against intruders.The problem of "reasonable force" must be addressed, and I hope they succeed in getting it changed. What force is "reasonable" when a father is defending his family from assault? What force is reasonable for a mother to exert when defending her children?
Our initiative follows last week's fatal stabbing of Robert Symons, a schoolteacher, who disturbed a burglar at his family home in Chiswick, west London.
It is backed by Mr Symons' mother, Amyra, who said yesterday: 'I agree with your campaign totally. The law must be changed.' Victims of crime, MPs and victims' charities are also supporting the campaign.
The law permits the use of 'reasonable force' as a method of self-defence against intruders. What 'reasonable force' constitutes, however, is difficult to define, leaving vulnerable people unsure of what force they can use to protect themselves and their homes. The Home Office, admitted to this newspaper last week: 'There is no definition of what is *reasonable force*.'
For years, it seems, the British government has worked to make it illegal to defend yourself, prosecuting those who do. Citizens should not come to each other's aid, but leave that to the police. Witness the result: crime and violent crime out of control.
Of course, since the British government has disarmed the law-abiding citizens, but not it the criminals, I wonder what type of force most people will be in the position to use in their own defense. Will the British home owner be in the position of the man who brought a knife to a gunfight?
If you are in a position that threatens imminent death or grave bodily harm, to you or your family, you should have the right to defend yourself - exerting any and all force necessary to remove the threat. That is, you should be able to exert as much force as needed to incapacitate your attacker or cause them to flee.