Using reasonable force against intruders
You can use reasonable force to protect yourself or others if a crime is taking place inside your home.
This means you can:
- protect yourself ‘in the heat of the moment’ - this includes using an object as a weapon
- stop an intruder running off - eg tackle them to the ground
There’s no specific definition of ‘reasonable force’ - it depends on the circumstances. If you only did what you honestly thought was necessary at the time, this would provide strong evidence that you acted within the law. Read guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service.
You don’t have to wait to be attacked before defending yourself in your home.
However, you could be prosecuted if, for example, you:
- carry on attacking the intruder even if you’re no longer in danger
- pre-plan a trap for someone - rather than involve the police