Sep 20 2017

What Are The UK Self Defence Laws | Legal Self-Defence

What Are The UK Self Defence Laws

What Is Self Defence?

The self defence laws in the UK are quite clear, and are essentially based on past common experiences.

The law itself is actually quite clearly good law, and in itself makes good sense, in that should you ever find yourself being involved in a situation where you are actually being physically attacked by another person, you will then have a perfect right to appropriately defend yourself.

As well as being able to defend yourself, It also makes perfectly good sense for you to be able to defend yourself within reason, and defend by only doing what you consider is reasonable force and necessary to prevent more harm being inflicted upon yourself.

The UK self defence laws allow you to use force as self defence in the following situations:

  • Self-defence
  • Defence of another person
  • Protection of property
  • Making a lawful arrest
  • Preventing crime
  • In the many varying self defence situation, one thing remains constant
    that is the fact that you can only use
    against an attacker.

    This can be somewhat of a problem as the grounds for reasonable force, and this includes various forms of martial arts, and under what particular circumstances that reasonable force is applied is only to be decided by a court of law.

    The crucial factor here is:
    Your version of 'reasonable force' may differ significantly from that of another...

    Self-defence can be used as your defence to crimes that are committed by the use of force.

    In a nutshell this means: If you are in a situation where someone is attacking you, it is acceptable for you to defend yourself in a reasonable manner and using reasonable force in order to stop them, and prevent them from causing you any more subsiquent injury.

    It does not mean you can just pull out a machete and start chopping them up..!

     Similarly you cannot just pull out a knife that you happened to have on your person at the time, or any weapon that you decide to use to defend yourself, as that would very easily be deemed as an offensive weapon, and considered to be a disproportionate response to the attack on you in those circumstances.
    But: if the attack were to continue, and you feared more violence, or worse still, you feared for your life, you can use what you consider to proportional at the time. 
    This may well now include using that knife that you happened to have on you at the time.

    What Is Reasonable Force?

    Again, remember that one persons idea of reasonable can be something quite different from yours - and this, my friends is where we have the biggest problem, deciding on exactly how much force is actually considered to be reasonable.?

    Below are some of the main, generally accepted reason for lawful self defence here in the UK:

    • If you find yourself being attacked, regardless of the actual reason, you have a perfect right within the UK law to use an amount of reasonable force in order to defend yourself against that attack.
    • If any member of your family or friends you were with at the time were being attacked, you can again use suitable reasonable force to stop that attack.
    • The same UK law also applies for your property - in so much as it is perfectly within the UK law to use reasonable force to prevent and stop someone who may be damaging or stealing your property.
    • In fact you can also use reasonable force in order to help prevent an attack on any member of the public in order to help prevent a crime and make a lawful arrest.

    Of course there are sensible parimeters to stick too:
    That being you have to believe that there is a genuine reason for you to use self defence in this way…

    AND… again, it is essential that the amount of reasonable force used must be in proportion to the attack on you.

    You can execute self defence before being attacked.

    There are some circumstances where you may fear an attack is imminent, in this case the law says – you do not have to wait to be attacked before using a form of self defence – and you are within the UK law to use a method of self defence to strike an assailant BEFORE they attack or strike you.

    But remember the most important part of the law - Only reasonable force can be used, and it must be proportional to the perceived, imminent attack.

    Steve Hart UK Prepper
    So what does this all mean to us preppers?
    Well, if the SHTF it will mean absolutely nothing..! Free reign for everyone would be the order of the day. Sure, there would be some effort to contain people from doing "bad" things. But even now, in 'peaceful' time we see looting and violence in any disaster event around the world.
    But for now we all try to live in a relatively safe and peaceful way. Conflict is never good. But should you find yourself in a situation where you fear for your safety, or the safety of others, then act within the current UK law and you'll be fine.
    Just don't go berserk - remember, reasonable force....

    Of course there is one BIG PROBLEM with this whole self defence thing - bad guys don't care about the law. You may be living your life within the laws of the land, but there are others who don't.

    Essentially you have no defence against an attacker who pulls a knife on you, other than having luck on your side! Not much use really. We can buy and own a lot of self defence weapons, but that's as far as it gets. You'll get arrested if you carry them in public - hardly self defence weapons then really?

    It's a massive 'catch 22' and whatever way you lean in this debate, there will be a perfectly good counter argument against you. 

    Happy Prepping Folks, Steve

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      • Barry Jones on June 9, 2018 at 4:17 am
      • Reply

      Steve, You need to look at Section 3 of the Criminal law act. I am a retired Police Constable and yes I carried a gun. One of my last violent arrests on duty was when 6′ 4″ 20 year old attacked me spat blood in my mouth and tried to break my neck. I took him to the ground choked him out and nearly broke his arm, he started to cry. I was so looking forward to the court case as I was sure some smart arse lawyer would have a go. The big but I was 46 5’9″ and carrying injuries from the job, my use of force was proportionate as if I did not go in so violent I would of lost which could of included my life. When his brief saw me he got him to go guilty, he went to prison. I do have the odd black belt in martial arts. Without quoting legislation take a look at section 3 as a firearms officer we had it drummed into us, if any citizen of the UK complies with that they will never be prosecuted, also command law. Put it basically if someone breaks into your home and you honestly believe they are going to kill you, open season on them. Good website and both my Wife and I carry

      • Alistair on February 5, 2018 at 8:52 pm
      • Reply

      You say that “Similarly you cannot pull out a knife that you happened to have on your person at the time, or any weapon that you decide to use to defend yourself as that would be deemed as an offensive weapon, and disproportionate to the attack on you in those circumstances”.

      Yes you can. UK law allows you to use any force to defend yourself (or others) up to and including lethal force with deadly weapons. It does however have to be proportionate to the threat. It will potentially be up to you to subsequently demonstrate in court that the force which you used in self defence was not disproportionate and that will be true whether you punch an attacked, hit him with your brolly, or shoot him in the face with a shotgun.

      As a ‘for example’ if you are single woman at home and you confront a masked intruder who tries to rape you, you are fully entitled to pull out a knife (or get one in the ensuing struggle from your kitchen worksurface) and stick it straight between the intruders ribs. Clearly this is proportionate use of force with a deadly weapon. There is not a police force in the country who would try to prosecute that and if they tried to, any jury would throw it out of court laughing. Clearly the force used was potentially lethal – or perhaps even lethal – but it was manifestly not disproportionate to the threat.

      What you couldn’t however do is, when the masked intruder legs it up the street bleeding all over himself, is give chase and finish the little shit off with multiple stabs to the back (however ‘justified’ you might quite reasonably feel). Or get in your car and run him down.

      A lot of people think that in the UK the use of lethal force with a deadly weapon is not allowed in self defence. That is rubbish. It is. And the same law applies to the police. When they discharge firearms they are covered by exactly the same self defence laws as a private citizen. There are no special laws to allow them open fire on a criminal. The only difference is that they are allowed to do it in the street with issued weapons, whereas private citizens can only do in their own homes. Both police and private citizens can equally be called to account for their actions in court if it is seen that they have used excessive force in self defence.

      Two things to remember:

      1) When seconds count, the police are only 10 minutes away.
      2) It is ALWAYS better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

      1. You make some very good points there Alistair, thank you.
        I think I may have worded some sentences that can be misinterpreted.
        The “Similarly you cannot pull out a knife” sentence relates to at typical situation where someone is simply threatening you, maybe raising a fist, in which case pulling out a knife and stabbing him would be disproportionate and you would be convicted of a crime with an offensive weapon.
        There are also many areas that are both objective, relating to the amount of force, and subjective, related to the circumstances a person believes them to be.
        You will always find some limp wristed moron who believes that a if a man rapes a woman and she defends herself, injuring him in the process, the attacker still has rights..!
        We are both on the same wavelength there, as he should get life in a pig pen, and if she has defended herself, then bloody good show.
        But there are still grey areas:
        If you are attacked with a knife you may defend yourself with a knife: if you are attacked with bare fists you may defend yourself likewise. Do more in either instance and you have a very high chance of being charged with an offence against the person, anything from common assault to murder.
        Although layered out in written law, I still think it is subjected to so many different interpretations of different opinions.
        Again, thanks for taking time to comment, and I will look at rewording that sentence.
        All the best, Steve UKpreppersGuide

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