Michael Fabricant will introduce a Bill in Parliament later today, following Prime Minister’s Question Time at 3.30pm, to protect property owners from prosecution by thieves if they are injured while breaking into a home or business. The Bill, which will receive its First Reading, is entitled:-
Protection of Property (Static Devices) Bill to allow a property owner to erect static devices with warning signs for the protection of his property; and to indemnify the property owner from prosecution or liability if a person or persons committing a criminal act on his property is injured by a static protection device.
The Bill is being introduced following growing frustration by residents of Lichfield and other parts of the country over damage and break-ins to property. At present, if a burglar injures himself on barbed wire while gaining illegal entry to someone’s property, he can sue the property holder for personal injury. "In this respect, the law is an ass", says Michael Fabricant. "With fewer police officers on patrol than in living memory, it is madness that law abiding citizens cannot protect their own property against burglary and vandalism.
"This is not a licence for property holders to use guns, but it would enable them to use static devices such as barbed wire, electric fences, glass on the top of walls, and anti-climb paint. A small sign would have to be displayed that such devices exist, but it would be no defence if a burglar claimed that in the dead of night he could not see the sign while committing an illegal act. It is a shame we have come to this.
"There is a basic tenet in English law: A person willingly submitting himself to danger cannot sue if he is then injured. My Bill would introduce a new, but obvious and common-sense, principle: A person engaged in a crime cannot sue if he is injured during the course of committing such a crime" adds Michael Fabricant. "We have over 200 fewer patrolling police officers in Staffordshire than four years ago. It is clear that people feel vulnerable and unprotected. We need many more police officers and I welcome the Association of Chief Police Officers’ recent demand for a further 20,000 police men and women. In the meantime, my legal measure will enable property holders to protect themselves and their property without fear of prosecution by thieves and vandals."
The Bill will be debated next year.