Brookmans Park and Little Heath
Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Message from your ward constable PC Jitu Dave
December 2005 and January 2006 have been eventful months. December saw nine incidents of shed breaks, all in Peplins Way and believed to have been carried out one after another on the same day. There have also been four incidents of damage to vehicles parked on roads. These two types of offences pushed crime figures to 28.
January proved to be a worrying month. There were three high profile burglaries affecting the newsagent, the Co-op store and the chemist next to it. There were five incidents of damage, two of which involved someone driving on grass outside two properties in Moffats Lane.
There is a need to be extra vigilant at all times and also to be conscious about crime prevention. In relation to dwelling burglaries, the following information is highlighted:
Some of the premises targeted in Brookmans Park and Cuffley are near the railway stations. These premises have been targeted between 9am and 7pm. Entry has been gained from the rear of the property. Jewellery has been stolen in some of the instances. A black male was seen in Cuffley following two burglaries there. He is described as slim build, 5' 3" to 5' 7" tall, aged between 18 and 30 years. On two occasions he was wearing dark clothing, jogging bottoms and beanie style hat.
Householders and the use of force against intruders
Joint Public Statement from the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers
What is the purpose of this statement?
It is a rare and frightening prospect to be confronted by an intruder in your own home. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Chief Constables are responding to public concern over the support offered by the law and confusion about householders defending themselves. We want a criminal justice system that reaches fair decisions, has the confidence of law-abiding citizens and encourages them actively to support the police and prosecutors in the fight against crime.
Wherever possible you should call the police. The following summarises the position when you are faced with an intruder in your home, and provides a brief overview of how the police and CPS will deal with any such events.
Does the law protect me? What is 'reasonable force'?
Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. You are not expected to make fine judgments over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in self defence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon. As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.
Do I have to wait to be attacked?
No, not if you are in your own home and in fear for yourself or others. In those circumstances the law does not require you to wait to be attacked before using defensive force yourself.
What if the intruder dies?
If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully. Indeed, there are several such cases where the householder has not been prosecuted. However, if, for example:
What if I chase them as they run off?
This situation is different as you are no longer acting in self-defence and so the same degree of force may not be reasonable. However, you are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen's arrest. You should consider your own safety and, for example, whether the police have been called. A rugby tackle or a single blow would probably be reasonable. Acting out of malice and revenge with the intent of inflicting punishment through injury or death would not.
Will you believe the intruder rather than me?
The police weigh all the facts when investigating an incident. This includes the fact that the intruder caused the situation to arise in the first place. We hope that everyone understands that the police have a duty to investigate incidents involving a death or injury. Things are not always as they seem. On occasions people pretend a burglary has taken place to cover up other crimes such as a fight between drug dealers.
How would the police and CPS handle the investigation and treat me?
In considering these cases Chief Constables and the Director of Public Prosecutions (Head of the CPS) are determined that they must be investigated and reviewed as swiftly and as sympathetically as possible. In some cases, for instance where the facts are very clear, or where less serious injuries are involved, the investigation will be concluded very quickly, without any need for arrest. In more complicated cases, such as where a death or serious injury occurs, more detailed enquiries will be necessary. The police may need to conduct a forensic examination and/or obtain your account of events. To ensure such cases are dealt with as swiftly and sympathetically as possible, the police and CPS will take special measures namely:
Local crime meeting
As advertised locally and on your Brooksmans Park website, a meeting for the local residents is organised for 21st February at the URC church between 20.00 to 22.00. Please come.
Jitu DAVE PC 699 Community Team Hatfield Ext. 8112
In an emergeny, always dial '999'.
You can discuss the crime figures and Neighbourhood Watch in this site's forum.