Proportionate Force for Defending your Property

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Moosey, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Thinking about this scenario;
    Definately challenge them, and loudly to draw attention to the situation. Don't touch the thief, but put your hand on your bike, this would act as a physical decleration of "this is my property". Tell the thief to stop and give him the oppotunity to leave. From there, if he doesn't stop (which I imagine would be unlikely.) It comes to reasonable force - you've given the guy the oppotunity to stop and walk away, he has ignored this and continued to act in a criminal manner. Try physically blocked him from getting at your bike. Step in front of him, or put your hands infront of his face. I would suggest you keep telling him to stop, and loudly to try and get as much attention as possible.
    At the point you block his work, he is probably going to start taking notice of you, so then it becomes the application of reasonable force to defend yourself. Presumably, this guy has some sort of tool that he is using to cut your bike lock, so he can be considered 'armed'.
    But as the last quote in my post above states, it's down to you to convince a jury that you felt sufficient threat to yourself to justify the damage you may have done to an attacker/thief.
  2. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    In addition to what has been said, remember that in the absence of a member of the police, and if the likelihood is that the police will not arrive in time to stop the crime/attempted crime or catch the perpetrator, you are allowed (under Criminal law Act 1967) to make an arrest. From this position the criminal can either be arrested or resist arrest. If they resist arrest they are using illegal force against you and you are entitled to use reasonable force to effect that arrest.
  3. garth

    garth Valued Member

    JWT posted

    the only thing I would say is be careful with the idea of Attempt. You must be absolutely sure that they are attempting a crime i.e. in the course of commiting a crime.

    Attempt in criminal law is an entire different ball game.

    And just to throw out a question to you all as we are using bikes as an example.

    If your bike is parked outside your house and I take your bike and go to town on it, only latter to return it back to your house. Is this a theft?

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  4. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I think it would be very difficult for a lawyer to prove that on seeing a stranger hacking away at your bicycle chain without your permission (criminal damage) it was not a reasonable belief to assume that they intended to steal it as opposed to borrow it. Similarly it would be pretty difficult for a lawyer to prove that his client intended to return the item.

    Is the case you mentioned theft? No, because theft involves the intent to remove something from you permanently. Certainly it's non permitted use. I suppose you could attempt to sue for damages caused by lateness/psychological trauma etc...
  5. garth

    garth Valued Member


    Actus reus and mens rea are important.

    And this is what i was talking about the word "Attempt"

    Remember an attempt has to be MUCH MORE than just an intention.

    Just thought i would point that out

  6. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    So where are our resident Sun and Mail readers screaming about the legal system being in favour of illegals, new labour being a fascist state and the common man being scared to walk the street? You think they missed this one somehow or do they just not understand what the word proportionate means?
  7. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Moosey old mammal, why don't you move this into self defence and make it a sticky? :)
  8. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    Now there's a thought!
  9. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I felt I needed to add to this.

    Reasonable force for the arrest must be necessary (ie it is not feasible to wait for the police to do it) and proportionate (to the damage believed to be caused by the crime believed to be in progress or about to be in progress).

    Thus beginning your arrest process on a person believed to be stealing a bike by kicking them in the head is not proportionate to the damage that the theft of a bike would cause, and is not reasonable. Using the same technique if the criminal was actually fighting you and had tried to kick you in the head, would be proportionate.

    I should add that kicking someone on the ground in the head while you are standing, unless they seem significantly bigger and stronger than you and are attempting to get up to hurt you, is unlikely to be viewed as necessary or proportionate (and the first one is the key, it doesn't matter if the force was proportionate if it was not necessary).
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  10. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    But then don't you walk into the classic problem I see with it? Right your not allowed to use force that hasn't been used against you right? What that says to me is I have to let the dude try to put me down before I can do anything to end a confontation.
  11. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    No, because the law allows you to use preemptive force if it is your honest belief that an attack is imminent, see Dan Bian's post above.
  12. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Oops my bad
  13. SeeDarkly

    SeeDarkly Valued Member

    There has been a few times where I have been in some impending trouble, where I have done nothing simply because I'm more terrified of the law than I am of a kicking:(
    My personal belief is that some of the way the law (in the uk) is presented is a little off kilter in terms of common sense.
    Take the bike scenario for example. You see a guy messing about with your bike, you can't see from where you are stood if he has any tools or anything. So you approach, remember at this point you can't grab him to pull him away.
    You speak loudly, challenging him as to what he is doing. This alerts him to your prescence and is already upping the threat to yourself. It is also giving him the chance to engage you in a dialogue, every second this is happening the potential threat is escalating. If he has any weapons, he already assessing his need to use them. You verbally challenge him again as to his intentions, great if he leaves-good:)
    If he does not? What will you do then? If he has any smarts about him he is already lining you up for the first shot...
    If you were able to just physically intervene maybe with a restraint from the off, the greater portion of threat could have been avoided.
    Or take another scenario, a bloke in a pub is getting in your face lining you up for being bottled, he goes for it and you manage to avoid being cut and drop him...but the bottle is still in his hand, what do you do then?
    Personally I might make sure he can't reatain that bottle...but is that right striking a fallen assailant? Somebody said once you can't do that?
    What happens when there are three burglars in your kitchen etc? Surely the intial contact level would have to be high to increase your chances of survival, after all you need to reduce the odds real quick?
  14. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    I think on the hole the local bobby is going to be sympathetic if you drop a local known criminal as long a you can keep your mouth shut about what has happened. They don't want to get into trouble by your boasting.
  15. Atre

    Atre Valued Member

    Or lie through your teeth. Criminals are difficult to prosecute successfully 'cos they lie to avoid trouble.

    Honest people get taped saying "I don't know what the burglar was doing, but I broke his hands with a cricket bat to be on the safe side" after a burglar has accused them of assault after said burglar put his hands up and surrendered. Doesn't matter if the burglar's lying - you don't look too good.
  16. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I have an idea: Lay them out however you feel, go to the kitchen, grab a knife with a towel or whatever and lay it in his hands
  17. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    It's called a throwdown. Don't use a knife that's part of your kitchen set, that might get checked.
  18. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Hadn't thought of that. Would giving them a sword be too far fetched?
  19. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Sharpen an old screwdriver.
  20. DergaSmash

    DergaSmash Valued Member

    Citizen's Arrests are iffy at best. In order to place one you must be well versed in the law where you live and able to prove that in court. I'm speaking of here in the states as I am not sure how it is done elsewhere.

    I worked for the police department for 4 years before I decided to enlist in the Army. I have a CCP in my home state. A few things you need to consider before confronting any burglar are as follows:

    1. Does your state/county/city have Castle Doctrine laws? Many places don't, meaning even if there is an intruder in your home, you must retreat if at all possible. (Stupid I know, but that is what castle docrine law protects, the homeowner/resident)

    2. Don't bring just your fists to the fight. I'm not saying that it isn't good to feel or be confident in your abilities, but this person broke into your home. You have no idea what they have or what they are capable of. A giant handheld spotlamp and an airhorn make just about anyone freak out and run. The sound of a 12 gauge pump shotgun racking a round transcends all language barriers.

    Just remember that while you have the desire to protect you property, you may not have the right depending on where you live. If you do, and you find yourself in that situation, bring every advantage you can. Use 100% of your resources 100% of the time until you are 100% successful.

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