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Friday July 18, 2008

Have-a-go-heroes


Well it’s official. We home owners have every right now to go and blast a burglar to oblivion should he dare to step over the threshold. Under new laws, all of us can defend ourselves ‘instinctively’ which apparently translates as striking out when fearing for our own safety. Well, I think there’s a fair likelihood of that basic ‘instinct’ being employed should a knife wielding yob break into your home. For the trigger happy there’s a small, boring codicil about not attacking a fleeing criminal, nor lying in wait to clobber him. Spoilsports! Surely that’s half the fun? I mean attacking a strapping robber full on, as well as a muscle clad accomplice or two in tow, doesn’t seem very sporting when you’ve probably just woken up in the dark and haven’t got a weapon to hand. There is a loophole though. It doesn’t say anything about hiding behind a curtain in the house and leaping out at the assailant from behind. That surely can’t constitute ‘lying in wait’, can it?

Of course Tony Martin, the famed Norfolk farmer who killed an aggressor on his land became an icon for those who believe an Englishman’s home is his castle. The only problem for Mr Martin-which few dwell on-is that he shot the criminal in the back. That is why he wound up in jail. Justice was served.

Now, while all of us hurtle down to the gym to flex our muscles and queue up at the local DIY store to stock up on domestic weapons of mass destruction, what are our bobbies doing? You see all this swashbuckling, have-a-go-hero business has a certain fishy whiff. Put it this way, why are we suddenly being invited by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, to protect ourselves in our own home without fear of prosecution? The answer, my chums, is in the small print. The Force will no longer take any responsibility for assisting citizens of domestic crime unless they are prepared to wait between three hours and three days for a copper to tear himself from the police canteen to visit the crime scene. By that time, the criminals will have fled, the premises will have been ransacked, the householders will either be dead or too gaga to give any sort of accurate report and Mr Plod will be free to slope back to playing his Game Boy or eating his bangers and mash.





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