Reasonable force

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The Independent Online

Hard on the heels of the murder of a wealthy and well-connected banker in one of the plushest areas of London, the outgoing commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, said householders who take on burglars should be presumed to have acted legally, even if the intruder is killed. Hardly had he uttered the words than the Tories leapt to propose just such a clarification of the law. This is pure demagogy, designed to capitalise on a particularly high-profile case and exploit the fear of crime. The current law, which allows the use of "reasonable force", is clear enough. Any change must be staunchly resisted.

Hard on the heels of the murder of a wealthy and well-connected banker in one of the plushest areas of London, the outgoing commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, said householders who take on burglars should be presumed to have acted legally, even if the intruder is killed. Hardly had he uttered the words than the Tories leapt to propose just such a clarification of the law. This is pure demagogy, designed to capitalise on a particularly high-profile case and exploit the fear of crime. The current law, which allows the use of "reasonable force", is clear enough. Any change must be staunchly resisted.

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