In an article published by the Telegraph, new measures are now in place. They published a short list of what is now acceptable / unacceptable to protect yourself and your property.
"WHAT YOU CAN DO
* If fearful for your own life, you can stab or shoot a burglar if they confront you
* Overpower a burglar or a mugger and use their weapon to attack them – whether it is a knife, a gun or a baseball bat.
* Shoot an armed robber in the "heat of the moment" using a shotgun stored in your home if threatened by them
* Fight, punch and beat a mugger in the street threatening you or a bystander
* Tackle a fleeing burglar to the ground and hold them in a headlock until police arrive
WHAT YOU CANNOT DO
* Attack a fleeing burglar with a cricket bat, a golf club, a knife or any other weapon
* Lay in wait for a burglar and ambush them, or shoot them from behind
* Launch any premidated or prolongued attack - such as tying up, torturing or burning a burglar or mugger.
* Shoot or attack a trespasser on private land if they are challenged and run away"
(16/07/2008 Telegraph on line)
There has been much debate over the last decade about this subject with high profile cases like Tony Martin the Norfolk farmer, who was lucky to have Michael Wolkind QC representing him at his appeal, he subsequently had his sentence reduced to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility,and was freed after serving 3 years of a 5 year sentence. Martin however, shot the burglars as they were effecting an escape, much of the above seems written to cover scenarios highlighted by the aforementioned case.
CABOT would never suggest the public should put themselves at risk in any situation, (unless it is unavoidable) but at least now the guidelines are somewhat clearer.