If you are a politician, nay, even a Prime Minister, you must wake up sometimes to read the news with that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and think “Oh bugger, why did I say that yesterday”, a situation that David Cameron probably found himself in this week.
It was a good headline grabber, a harmless bit of waffle that sounded like he was doing us all a favour, his talk about home owners being able to have more powers to hurt burglars in their home, it wasn’t any more specific than that it was just a throw-away phrase for the newspaper headline writers, “We must give stronger support for homeowners who protect their home against intruders” is what he said, harmless but served the purpose, got him some good news on all the news media for one day.
The very next morning he learns of an alleged “burglar” who is stabbed to death by the people who were in the house that he was trying to “burgle” and in the way that police do there is obviously more to the story than that but they won’t say anything just yet, only that three people in the house have been arrested on suspicion of murder and everyone in the country turns to David Cameron and asks “Well, what are you going to say about that ?”
Truth is you already have a self defence motive if you discover a burglar in your home, the courts will already view you with sympathy if you use reasonable force to defend yourself, even more sympathy if you use reasonable force to detain an intruder so that the police have an easy job, the “reasonable force” thing is the sticking point for most people but even that is fairly straight forward if you stop and give it 30 seconds thought, so that the case last year of a home owner who chased a unarmed burglar out of his house and down the street and then beat him to within an inch of his life caused permanent life changing brain damage, was not too surprising when the home owner was jailed – thats not “reasonable force” nor anything like “self defence”.
I’ve been burgled a few times, by idiots.
One time I had a new mountain bike stolen, problem for the burglar is that I’d chained it to the garage wall but they’d obviously brought bolt cutters because they cut the chain and lifted the bike off its wall hangers only to find that I’d also U-locked the front wheel to another bolt on the wall, so they quick-released the front wheel and left it behind – they stole a bike that now only had one wheel instead of two, that must have been fun trying to sell down the pub. The good news is that I was fully insured, got a voucher to exchange for the same bike at the store that I’d bought it from just six months earlier, when I got there I found that the manufacturer had upgraded the spec of that model and kept the price the same, so I got a better bike and now I had a spare front wheel for it too.
Another time we heard two almighty crashes at the back door while we were in bed, by the time I got downstairs the perpetrator had fled with my wallet and mobile phone and Jake the Retriever (god bless his cotton socks) was stood at the broken door with a look on his face that said “what the fook was that”, he was asleep in the same room and hadn’t woken until the burglar fled, I loved that dog and still do.
Said burglar wasn’t all that good at his craft though, a Scene of Crime Officer who turned up the next morning took a perfect shoe print from the back door and related stories of fairly stupid young lads going to rob houses who always wore the same shoes not realising how much information could be lifted from a print especially when they’d be wearing the same shoes when picked up later, the SOCO told me at that point that they already had a good idea of who it was and that they’d be knocking on his door later that day, she recognised him from his shoe print.
If that wasn’t good enough the idiot had also taken my wallet and phone to a nearby all night garage and used my debit card to buy cigarettes and £20 cashback (in the days before chip & pin) and then used my mobile to call for a taxi to take him home. What he didn’t realise is that the all night garage had CCTV in the shop and got a perfect film of him transacting with my card and using my phone, date and time stamped all ready for presenting to the court along with the debit card and phone records, and to top it all the taxi came into shot on another camera and when interviewed the driver told the police which house he’d dropped the perp off at, not that they needed to know, they already knew who it was at this point.
He got twelve months for this and 30 other instances of idiot burglaries, I have no hope that he will ever change his ways for to do so requires an element of brain cell, and hereby lies the problem Mr Cameron, these people didn’t go to Eton and Oxford, they can barely speak, will steal bikes with one wheel and leave enough evidence behind at their crime scenes that they may as well have painted arrows on the road all the way from my house to theirs.