BBC NEWS | Magazine | Is assault lawful when protecting someone?
Assault is against the law but what if it is committed to protect someone else?
Protecting the vulnerable is considered a key tenet of a civilised society, but recent events have shown that intervention in an effort to uphold community values can come at a very high price.
"There's the concept of self-defence in case law that extends to defending not just one's self and one's property but also ...to anyone else, including a stranger."
... But the advice from police is unequivocally against intervention. A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers says they have only one instruction - call the police.
And a Home Office statement said: "The public should not intervene in any situations of any criminal activity. They may put themselves in danger, exacerbate the situation and ultimately be acting on the wrong side of the law."
Those who have stepped in have sometimes found the authorities interpret events in an unsympathetic way. ....
What ever happened to The nine policing principles by Sir Robert Peel/
... Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence
No longer, we must be good little proles and cower in our burrows and leave it to the forces of the state to keep us safe and grateful...