Audible “Rape Alarms” are the only “Fully Legal” Self-Defense Product Available in UK

IIa Sport Personal Alarm & Pedometer.  (courtesy safe-girl.co.uk)

The Police National Legal Database website’s Ask the Police feature recently answered the question: “Are there any legal self defence products that I can buy?” “The only fully legal self defence product at the moment is a rape alarm. These are not expensive and can be bought from most local police stations or supermarkets. There are other self defence products which claim to be legal (e.g. non toxic sprays), however . . .

. . . until a test case is brought before the court, we cannot confirm their legality or endorse them. If you purchase one you must be aware that if you are stopped by the police and have it in your possession there is always a possibility that you will be arrested and detained until the product, it’s contents [sic] and legality can be verified . . .

You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.

There are products which squirt a relatively safe, brightly coloured dye (as opposed to a pepper spray). A properly designed product of this nature, used in the way it is intended, should not be able to cause an injury.

However, be aware that even a seemingly safe product, deliberately aimed and sprayed in someone’s eyes, would become an offensive weapon because it would be used in a way that was intended to cause injury.

Got that? If you’re being attacked, try not to hurt the person you’re fighting off.

Despite having both a wife and a daughter, the thought of procuring a “rape alarm” for either of them had never really crossed my mind. Maybe that’s because there are better options available. An alarm? Are they serious? Car alarms go off and are ignored all the time. Would a randy yob intent on inflicting grievous bodily harm on a woman be deterred by an alarm?

A British company called Safe Girl Security thinks so. The website sells devices that generate a 130+ decibel alarm. The website goes on to claim that a personal alarm “wards off 97% of potential attacks.” Safe Girl Security fails to provide a citation for this figure, although it appears often in the online sales literature for British personal alarm vendors. (One says the number came from the Home Office.)

Curious about the mind-set of the folks selling these devices, I connected online with the founder of Safe-Girl, Andrea Clark.

Safe Girl Security jefe Andrea Clark.

Ms. Clark founded the company in 2011 in response to “a couple of scares just as [her] eldest was due to start walking home from school without an adult.” She’s had personal experiences with violence in the past:

The very same month I started Safe Girl, I entered into a new and what turned out to be a highly abusive domestic relationship. Some 18 months later, having suffered both physical and emotional abuse, I finally escaped and started a very personal journey of my own. This meant rediscovering myself: exploring how I could fall into such an abusive relationship, so blindly and willingly, without understanding what was going on for so long, despite all the physical blows and emotional torment….

It is now my absolute passion and mission to educate all girls and women about safety issues both out on the streets and inside their own homes and relationships. I want to empower as many women as possible to be in control and to help them see the danger signs. Once we have the knowledge and the tools to make better decisions, and know ourselves more, we are better equipped to be safe and strong, physically and mentally. It’s powerful stuff.

“Powerful”? Sure. Self-knowledge and actualization is empowering. Know thyself and all that. Avoiding the wrong types of people. Yes, very important. Having the strength, skills, and mindset to be able to stop a determined attack on one’s person is also empowering. But we’re talking about a noisemaker here.

I asked Ms. Clark if she would carry a firearm if she could. Her response was . . . well, she didn’t respond at all. Perhaps the idea of carrying a firearm is too much for the British mind to contemplate? I would’ve expected someone in the personal self defense business to have a ready answer for the question. She did not.

Returning to the facts of the matter – or the lack thereof – I searched for the report that supplied the 97 percent deterrence figure for personal alarms. I found this publication on tackling domestic violence put out by the British Home Office in 2005. At p. 87, it appears to consider “the use of personal alarms and mobile telephones by women who have experienced violence” as being a “target hardening” strategy. And . . . that’s it.

Wishful thinking? As usual. And as always, someone pays the price.

[Hat tip: NRA-ILA.]

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

comments

  1. avatar Skyler says:

    I’m guessing that rapes are getting pretty easy to commit over there now. I wonder how many creeps have a collection of smashed rape alarms at home.

    1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

      I am getting my wife one. This way it will destruct the perp giving her more time to draw and fire.

      1. avatar rick3 says:

        I think you meant to write “distract”, but if it actually did “destruct” the perp, that would be even better!

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      US: 91.8 rapes per 100,000
      UK: 132 rapes per 100,000
      You are 1.44 times as likely to be raped in the UK.

      Assuming 64.1 million people in UK, 318.9 million in the US. And the data on this page:
      http://www.wonderslist.com/10-countries-highest-rape-crime/

      Rape in the UK on the rise:
      http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44818000/gif/_44818750_rape_squads_226.gif

      Rape in the US falling:
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Rapes_per_1000_people_1973-2003.jpg

  2. avatar Skyler says:

    This reminds me of the old story about how to keep bears from attacking; You sew little bells all over your clothing. And how do you know when bears are in the area? You can see bear turds with little bells inside.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Or, as they say in Canada–how can you tell if a bear has eaten a hiker? His poop smells like pepper spray.

  3. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    I’ve got one of those on the back of my vehicle….goes off every time i put it in reverse…(LOL)

    1. avatar (Formerly) MN Matt says:

      Ugh, same here. Makes sneaking out of the house at 3am for an on-call a pain.

      1. avatar Bob Fairlane says:

        Find the lead wires to the backup alarm, and install a quick-connect or switch in the positive wire. Then you can mute the beeper.

  4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I see two HUGE shortcomings to the personal audible alarm. For one, all a rapist needs to do is put in earplugs before attacking. Second, a rapist can simply grab the alarm and smash it on the ground. Unless those audible alarms are hardened for extreme impacts on masonry surfaces, they will shatter and become silent.

    Finally, I am not sure what kind of batteries those things use. These days it seems like just about every device I have which uses batteries ends up with the batteries leaking and ruining the device. It sure would be awful to pull out your audible rape alarm during an attack only to find out the batteries leaked and the device doesn’t work.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      Or the rapist can claim permanent hearing loss because of the 130 dB sound next to the ear. Then there are the fines for noise ordinance violations. Heaven forbid those rapists become victims of violence while performing a vile act of violence!

      Why aren’t they jumping on the “soil yourself” bandwagon?

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        Illegal to pee in public??

  5. avatar Bob says:

    “We must not cause harm to rapists and murderers…”

    This literally makes me sick to my stomach.

    1. avatar Cameron b says:

      Seconded

    2. avatar Knife Handler says:

      In Nepal we cut off rapists balls, just saying.

      Police just give us a warning and 2 about mob justice, and let us off

      1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

        bet that cuts down on repeat offenders. pun intended.

      2. avatar Gatha58 says:

        I pity the poor guy in Nepal that gets falsely accused of rape. Do the cops just give the folks that cut off his balls the same treatment ? That is a firm warning not to do it again ?

  6. avatar JWM says:

    Just like a car alarm. One of these sounds off and the whole neighberhood will respond en mass. Or not.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      This might go beyond people just ignoring the alarm. People might actively seek to distance themselves from such an alarm. If you live where the good guys can’t carry guns, knives, clubs or even pepper spray, are you willing to put your life at risk to stop a rapist that very well may be ignoring laws prohibiting such weapons? A rape alarm is really nothing more than a run away and call the police alarm…. By the time the police get there, the deed is done. Nothing left to do but collect evidence and take statements. It’s all about the paperwork.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    What is most pathetic, however, is this statement,

    You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury.

    So, the victim cannot fight back because they might injure their attacker? Who the Hell makes such a law? More importantly, whose side are their politicians on — the good people of the U.K. or violent criminals? Sounds to me like U.K. politicians are on the side of violent criminals and passed laws to make violent criminals’ attacks as safe as possible for the attackers. That there is pure evil.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      The assholes who make these laws probably have their own security personnel who have guns. Plus, the political system has a built-in incentive structure where the more unsafe people feel (and actually are) the more the politicians can justify their existence and increase their power.

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    So basically, they have the opposite of stand your ground.
    And you can’t cause harm to your attacker?
    Wow.

  9. avatar onezero says:

    So, a woman sets off the alarm, and there’s no Bobby around to hear it, and it doesn’t deter the attacker…. what happens now? Anyone else who hears the alarm, who attempts to stop attack, violates British law if they injure the attacker. So, why get involved?

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      What happens next is moral superiority, pure and unadulterated.

  10. avatar John F lake havasu Az says:

    My wife (in Arizona) has an audible RAPE alarm , 45 ACP, 1911

  11. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    Good, this will let any courageous bystanders to rush over and sternly rebuke the rapist and tell him what a terribly bad thing he is doing… Because anything beyond that runs them the risk of being booked for assault. A friend of mine lived in the UK for a few years was explaining that if you are victim of a home invasion in the UK it is recommended that you leave your house and call the police, because even confronting the thieves with a baseball bat or other blunt instrument can risk yourself being brought up on charges of you have to use it to defend yourself. Just more of that “room to destroy” bullshit that progressives love so that no one gets hurt.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      Rebuking is completely unacceptable. One might hurt their feelings.

      1. avatar Defens says:

        Not if you provide a trigger alert first! “What ho, Varlot! I am about to rebuke you! Stand back, or I shall call out loudly!”

        1. avatar Jordan says:

          (in French accent) Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

  12. avatar Tom says:

    Its disgusting beyond measure that the police in the UK are protectors and enablers of rapists, robbers, thieves, gang members and grooming gangs. I wonder how many British police are on the take from criminals and gangs. There is no way that police would be proscribing non lethal weapons to defend from criminal attacks unless they were getting their palms greased by the criminal element.

  13. avatar JohnO says:

    Britain will need our help when they are attacked again by a foreign country. They have turned into a nation of pansies.

  14. avatar Gunr says:

    Is the same alarm sold abroad (USA) Does it come with a 9MM, or 45 cal miniature pistol tucked inside?
    No! Not interested!

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      AFAIK, such a product would be illegal in the US under BATFE regulations. Remember pager holsters? How far we have fallen and when will we get sick of it. Everyone look at the UK, that’s us eventually.

  15. avatar Virginia Gunner says:

    The UK has gone full retard on the right to self defense. I read an article about a UK woman (who happens to be a hot model) warned by police that she may have acted illegally because she waved a kitchen knife and threatened (not stabbed) some home invaders trying to break into a window of her home. The cops said carrying an ‘offensive weapon’, even in her own home, was illegal.

    Offensive weapon. To defend herself and home with. You couldn’t make up a story like that and sound credible, but here it is:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/6957682/Myleene-Klass-warned-by-police-after-scaring-off-intruders-with-knife.html

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      The U.K. woman should NOT have told the police that she waved a knife at the home invaders and the police would have no basis to charge her with anything. Oh wait, the good people of the U.K. do NOT have a right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves.

      Like we have said countless times, any government that is happy to infringe on our Second Amendment rights is more than happy to infringe on all the rest.

  16. avatar Moshe says:

    Instead of calling it “Rape Alarm” the proper name for this product should be “After Rape Alarm”: after you are raped you can press the button to sound the alarm.

  17. avatar Korvis says:

    I am sure Lee Rigby’s ghost is kicking himself for failing to carry a little noisemaker on the day of his attack. Clearly, it would have made all the difference.

    The UK is such a disappointment.

    1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

      But wait. They are going through a very large political upheaval. The left In the UK is weaker than its been in 50 years.

  18. avatar Hasdrubal says:

    I can’t find a clip on youtube, but is anyone else reminded of a simpsons episode where the kids go to military school?

    “Maybe you should just learn to use this. [hands Lisa a whistle] If there’s a war, just blow on it, and I’ll come help you.”

  19. avatar Accur81 says:

    This American would be happy to go toe to toe with her “self defense device.” I’m nearly immune to pepper spray, have been tear-gassed on multiple occasions, and I’ve been shot with a Taser.

    I say this in all seriousness. Let’s set up a self defense scenario where this woman “defends” herself with her little portable car alarm. I will intentionally limit myself to nothing other than control holds. Let’s see if the noise is sufficient for me to stop a purse-snatching or car jacking simulation. I’ll post, or have her post, the un-edited contents on YouTube.

    I’m 5’9, 183 pounds, and have more fighting experience than some criminals and less than others. I can be contacted at accur8@mac.com

    Note: I would not make such an offer against a real gun.

    1. avatar KenB says:

      You should stop attempting to rape people, you would get tased and pepper sprayed less.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Alright, that was pretty funny. For the record, those were in the military, police, and other civilian training environments.

    2. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Let’s set up a self defense scenario where this woman “defends” herself with her little portable car alarm. I will intentionally limit myself to nothing other than control holds. Oh, heck, my youngest daughter who has a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do would mop the floor with this slave girl from Oceania and her little Ministry of Love electronic device.

  20. avatar Derek says:

    I should pick one up.
    So I can press the button every April 15th.

    1. avatar Danilushka says:

      LOL Good one LOL

  21. avatar CM says:

    this is the ultimate goal of progressives for the USA. School indoctrination camps brainwash children to not fight back against bullies.. women are instructed to urinate on themselves if attacked, they are offered a piece of paper to restrain their abuser who has threatened to kill them. Look at our future across the pond, boys, look well.

  22. avatar Danilushka says:

    Let me see. Get attacked activate alarm, all bystanders refuse to help and flee since they are unarmed, police come 20 minutes later. rope off area, draw chalk line if victim deceased, and gather evidence. Yeah, works for subject but no citizens.

  23. avatar barnbwt says:

    Why is the alarm shaped like a *cough* “marital aid?”

    1. avatar BigDinVT says:

      it’s like a cell phone; when set to “silent” mode it vibrates.

      1. avatar Retired LEO says:

        Now we all know what the Queen carries in her purse. I’m thinking this thing might be most effective shoved into the rectum of the rapist with the 130db sounding. It would increase the chances of catching him at least.

  24. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    On the bright side, the sound of the “Rape Alarm” will precipitate violent seizures and eventual death in most invaders from space, and under some circumstances cause their heads to explode as well.

    Further, unlike muggers and rapists, extraterrestrials enjoy few protections under British law.

    1. avatar Taylor TX says:

  25. avatar KenB says:

    You can’t defend yourself, but you can provide the soundtrack.

  26. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    A British company called Safe Girl Security thinks so. The website sells devices that generate a 130+ decibel alarm. But, you might give the perp tinnitus so it should be banned in Oceania as well.

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      IngSoc!

  27. avatar Taylor TX says:

    “I want to empower as many women as possible to be in control and to help them see the danger signs.”

    Agreed, however I think teaching a proper grip, front sight picture, trigger control and situational awareness are the right start on a journey to empowerment.

    How far England has fallen from the days of “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Yeah, they had further to fall than just about anyone.

      It is sobering, because if it could happen to them it could happen to anyone.

  28. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    “… alarm and pedometer.”

    That way, the DS will know that you got a whopping 13 steps before being taken down.

    Brilliant!

  29. avatar Another Robert says:

    The sun has finally set on the British empire.

  30. avatar racer88 says:

    A meme I just created… inspired by this. (Let’s see if I can post a photo in the comment. Nope… that didn’t work. Maybe I can just post the link.)
    http://i1042.photobucket.com/albums/b425/racer88_bucket/other%20stuff/A-tale-of-two-rapists_zpsecvlhykt.jpg

  31. avatar Retired LEO says:

    I’m surprised it’s actually one of those travel screamer alarms. In the U.K. I expected. A voice alarm writhe something like
    “Sorry to trouble you but I’m being sodomized against my will, can someone ring 999 if it isn’t a bother”
    Please understand that I am NOT attempting to make light of rape but rather, the political correctness.this world has come to. Both my Zwife & Stepdaughter carry a rape alarm in the form of FNP for the Wife & Sig Sauer for the stepdaughter. My 17 y/o son now carrys. a neck knife and a twitch since he went to one of out local upscale stores tie shopping for me and was approached sexually in the men’s room. P.D. basically went no harm no foul. He since resigned. I was using the urinal or might have called b.s. but he yelled loud enough when the guy tried to slide under the partition. So ladies & gentlemen .peeves, rapists and stickies go after all these days.

  32. avatar pyratemime says:

    I am not sure how this product can be legal in the UK. OSHA shows that anything over 115 DB can cause permeates hearing loss in less than 30 seconds. If you can’t have a tool that causes injury shouldn’t hearing loss count?

    Additionally would this not create a defense for the accused rapist? Would they not be able to claim they could not hear the woman say no over the column of this little alarm?

    Yes, I think a woman using this in the UK is still in murky legal territory. Perhaps the UK police just didn’t want to tell women to shut up and take it.

    1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

      What do you mean non consensual? If she didn’t want a good raping why did she turn her tale alarm on?well then they should call it an anti rape alarm and maybe stop some of the confusion. Sorry miss but I’m sure you can understand this was an honest mistake.

  33. avatar Rick K says:

    I don’t get it…Are you supposed to beat your assailant repeatedly about the head with the blunt end or try to poke him in the eye with that pointier end thingy?

    1. avatar Gatha58 says:

      No, trying to actually hurt him would be illegal in this idiotic country.

  34. avatar Ray says:

    I agree that women should be trained to produce ten to twenty blasts of 130+db alarm noise when attacked. For extra noise, +P is an option.

  35. avatar General Zod says:

    How, exactly, can this device be used as a method of self-defense? Sounding an alarm is not the same as defending oneself.

  36. avatar michael kennedy says:

    There is stupid and then there is stupid.
    This got me to thinking about Dipsy Daisy who was walking alone one day when a dood jumps out of the bushes and starts to tear off all her clothes. Well Dipsy Daisy just laughed and laughed because she knew she didn’t have any money there.

  37. avatar Ralph says:

    130 db? Why, that’s less noise than a Metallica concert. The English girls should just play “Enter Sandman” and let it go at that.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Ralph has actually heard Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’?

      *BOGGLE*

      Whoa…

  38. avatar Gatha58 says:

    Laws in England are complete bullshit ! Laws that leave innocent citizens prey to predators. And their answer to to this situation is that the only legal solution is an audible alarm ? The people over there had better get busy and get rid of the A-holes that make these laws. Get someone into office with the balls to give the people the right to defend themselves for Gosh sake.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      Get someone into office with the balls to give the people the right to defend themselves for Gosh sake.

      GIVE the people the Right? Rights are not given nor granted. Human Rights simply EXIST. It’s a matter of FORCING their “leaders” to ACKNOWLEDGE their Natural Rights.

      Just sayin’. 🙂

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Yep. If government had the authority to give the right then it had the authority to take it away. Neither is true.

  39. avatar Hannibal says:

    “The only fully legal self defence product at the moment is a rape alarm”

    Could have simplified the answer to “No, there are no legal self defence products.”

  40. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Yuck-V for Vendetta…So THAT’S why they let roving bands of Muslim rapists roam free in Britain-can’t injure the little darlings. Talk about your war on women…

  41. Dear NRA Teatards Extremist

    The UK along with the brits I spoke with does not want your outdated relic called a “right”.

    Thier people do not want thier country to turn into 3rd world status like what this country has become because of vile criminal organizations like the NRA.

    Your “gun righ/More guns, Less crimet” myths were debunked many times by the international community and studies truthly state that owning a gun is more likely to injure or kill you than protect you.

    Criminals would not have guns if you didnt.

    If anything, We should try to emulate thier laws

    The citizens of the UK value human life unlike the mouth-breathing incestous hibilly pigs called “people of the gun”.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Willy’s little diatribe is wrong on so many fronts that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s just say that when you start right off the bat hurling insults, that’s an indication that you don’t trust in the veracity of your arguments. And if you realize your arguments are so bogus that the only way to win the debate is by attempting to marginalize your opponent this way, I’m not going to waste any time exposing them as such.

    2. avatar Jason Lynch says:

      From the UK – may I cordially invite you to go and do one, sunshine?

      1. avatar Jason Lynch says:

        (I should clarify that it’s Mr Lunchmeat from whom a period of silence and reflection would be welcome)

  42. And my comment which put a harshlight on the gun nuts and what the international thinks of you was removed.

    Protecting your obsolete right while censoring free speech.

    Gotta love that gun nut hypocrisy.

    1. avatar JohnF says:

      And this troll post should be deleted also. The right to free speech is a protection against government intervention, not deleting posts on a privately-run blog. Also, both free speech and the right to keep and bear arms come from the same Bill of Rights. You can’t logically claim one is obsolete without saying the other is also. The Constitution does not let you pick and choose which rights you like and which ones you don’t.

  43. avatar Claymore says:

    You could set it to play some Sam Cooke so the rape would be a little bit enjoyable.

  44. avatar Bob says:

    Reading this kind of stuff makes it pretty obvious why we had to intervene in both ww1 and ww2. All the Brits were sitting around waiting for their Nazi alarms to go off.

  45. avatar JohnF says:

    So as not to damage the rapist’s self esteem, I believe rape victims in the UK should be required to fake an orgasm.

    The best defense available to them was explained by Rodney Dangerfield. He said, “My wife is so ugly! The other night, some guy broke into our house. My wife yelled ‘Rape!’ The guy yelled, “No!”

    I see a lot of British women have figured out this defense already…

  46. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    More proof it was a good idea to fight English rule. A nation that will not protect its mothers, wives, and daughters will die. I’m sure the royal family has plenty of firearms as well as the English parliament. The IRA motivated them to be more aware about self defense in the 1970’s.

  47. avatar Anonymous says:

    . . . until a test case is brought before the court, we cannot confirm their legality or endorse them. If you purchase one you must be aware that if you are stopped by the police and have it in your possession there is always a possibility that you will be arrested and detained until the product, it’s contents [sic] and legality can be verified . . .

    So… guilty until proven innocent.

    You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.

    Adapted? What about kitchen rolling pins. Say you keep one in a bag as if you just purchased it from the market so you can bake some bread. Are these legal? A lot of things can be used to injure. This statement is so broad the arresting officer could basically arrest you for anything you are carrying.

    There are products which squirt a relatively safe, brightly coloured dye (as opposed to a pepper spray). A properly designed product of this nature, used in the way it is intended, should not be able to cause an injury.

    So… while he is impregnating you with his defective genes and HIV, you can … spray him with a dye? Way to add color to an otherwise grim situation. Land of hope and glory I guess. Like… I hope that guy staring at me doesn’t rape me. I hope that guy doesn’t have HIV or hepatitis if he does rape me.

    However, be aware that even a seemingly safe product, deliberately aimed and sprayed in someone’s eyes, would become an offensive weapon because it would be used in a way that was intended to cause injury.

    So… no dye? Back to the grim situation without color it seems. Just accept your fate. Is that the message?

  48. avatar GutshotYooper says:

    Seems like the Brits need to remember what the colonies did to break away from the historically idiotic and oppressive British government and act accordingly.

  49. avatar Matt says:

    Using you phone is a viable hardening/defense method.

    That is the exact opposite of what was said in every college orientation/sexual assault/don’t get raped or be a rapist thing I had to attend. Of course the wishful thinking did appear, the focus after that was always on telling men not to be rapists.

  50. avatar Andy74 says:

    I am British living outside the UK (not the US, unfortunately). Current self defense laws in the UK are ridiculous, as this article shows. But hope springs eternal and there is already a campaign underway to make self defense laws more realistic and protect defendants from prosecution and compensation in self defense cases. It’s being led by the SundaY telegraph and has widespread popular and political support. Here’s hoping the change comes soon. And maybe, I dare to hope, then we can get our gun rights back. Til then, I’ll stay where I can defend myself and my loved ones legally.

  51. avatar Nick says:

    It’s the same in Canada. I asked the local police department about this once was given advice on securing my home and taking precautions, etc., etc. I think the only great area are small attachments that you can put on a key chain that can be used to jab and poke an assailant. I suppose for you are an expert on striking and know exactly where to hit an opponent, it might be of some benefit. However, I’m not sure that a random women with no training can fend of a violent rapist with, say, a 3 inch long, 1/4 inch diameter aluminum peg.

  52. First off: I’m a Brit, living in the UK.

    Since the large number of “wtf?!” comments suggest many of the TTAG readers don’t know the ins and outs of our laws (fair: I don’t know much about federal or state law), I’ll try to explain the key principles of UK law on self defence.

    There is no such thing as a permitted self defence weapon. Self defence is not accepted as a valid reason for possessing a firearm or any other object.

    Anybody is permitted to use “minimum, reasonable and proportionate force” in defence of themselves and others around them – within the wider law.

    What this means is that a citizen arming him/herself for any reason, with any kind of weapon from a 2×4″ to a blade, a gun to a motorcar, is probably committing a crime IF they so arm themselves FOR SELF DEFENCE.

    On the other hand, it absolutely does NOT mean that you can’t use force to defend yourself if attacked.

    Minimum = no more force than you need to negate the threat
    Reasonable = if somebody slaps you, don’t actively try to gouge out an eye in response
    Proportionate = if what they are doing causes you fear of deadly harm you can use deadly force in return

    Therefore if I, as a gun-owning Brit, happen to be home at night and a home intrusion takes place I should not (in theory) arm myself with a gun unless/until I have verified the intruder has a deadly weapon. And if they do, I shouldn’t use my weapon unless/until they have demonstrated intent to use theirs. That being said… there is case law that suggests a homeowner using deadly force is likely to get the benefit of the doubt under law: it’s scary, dark, why should he/she have to take the chance, etc.

    You’d be surprised, honestly. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if a U.S. Police Force would regard it as a justified use of force the Brits would too.

    The point is that you can’t deliberately arm yourself for self defence. Technically the woman selling these things is wrong: if you buy it as a self-defence WEAPON that implies you intend either to hit someone with it or deafen them with it – or shove it *places*… All illegal. You can only buy it as a personal safety alarm.

    BUT, if you are walking down the street with a baseball bat, on your way to play some ball in the park, and someone shows an intent to rape you – then the law will applaud if you knock their f**king head off!

    Yes, we have some pretty difficult laws to deal with.

    Yes, the law can and should be strengthened to protect victims who defend themselves from the risk of litigation.

    Yes, I personally believe that a legitimate response to attempted rape is to ventilate the attacker with any calibre you like.

    But just because you’re not allowed to carry something FOR THE PURPOSE of self defence, this does not mean you cannot USE SOMETHING YOU HAVE FOR ANOTHER REASON to defend yourself if necessary.

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