HL Deb 12 January 2005 vol 668 c18WS
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

Concerns have been raised about the ability of householders to use reasonable force to defend themselves, their families, their homes and their property. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister, stated on 8 December that the Government appreciate that real public concern exists over these issues, and that they would be reviewed.

Accordingly, the Government have considered, in consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), how best this matter should be addressed.

We have concluded that the current law is sound but needs to be better explained to all concerned, especially for householders.

We very much welcome the new guidance on Charging standards for prosecutors published by the CPS in November, which we believe demonstrates clearly that the law is on the side of the victim and that householders are entitled to use reasonable force to defend themselves, their families and their property.

Moreover we welcome the determination of ACPO to ensure that the new guidance clarifies the detail of this law for every police officer.

We have come to the conclusion that this guidance and clarification will ensure that the current law is properly understood and implemented; and that therefore no change in the law is required.

The Government in conjunction with the CPS and ACPO will shortly publish and promulgate information which makes it clear to the public that the current law ensures that appropriate steps to protect themselves, their family and their property will always be justified.