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Are there any legal self defence products that I can buy?


Answer

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 that 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, its contents and legality can be verified.

However, accepting there is a lot of concern about street crime, we can try to clarify matters a little by putting forward the following points.

  • You must not get a product that 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 that 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, if an injury does occur, this may be assault.
  • Any products bought from abroad have a greater chance of being illegal.

The above advice is given in good faith, you must make your own decision and this website cannot be held responsible for the consequences of the possession, use or misuse of any self-defence product. See Q85 for information on the use of reasonable force.

Related questions


Answer

There are several websites that give sound advice about this topic. Listed below are a comprehensive sample of the steps that can be taken to ensure your personal safety:

  • Never leave your bag or coat unattended in a pub or nightclub, it is an ideal place for thieves.
  • Never leave your drink unattended, as it is very easy for someone to put an illegal substance in your drink, which could have very serious consequences for you.
  • Always make sure you know how you are going to get home after a night out. It is best to travel home with friends and not on your own.
  • Book a taxi home before going out, do not flag down a taxi as you cannot be sure they are a licensed cab driver.
  • Avoid any confrontation or fighting, if someone is threatening you, tell a door supervisor but do not get involved.
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger. Go with the person to the bar if you want to accept a drink.

In general though, wherever you are try and remember the following suggestions:

  • Do not walk home alone late at night. If you do, choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading and listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone and whilst using it you are distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout fire rather than help, it tends to attract more attention.


Answer

Here are some personal safety tips to follow if you are out and about:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Be careful when reading or listening to music as this can be distracting.
  • In a busy place, try to use your mobile phone in emergencies only as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone. Whilst using your phone you are distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • Try to avoid walking home alone late at night. If you do, choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone tries to take something from you, it may be better to let them take it rather than getting into a confrontation and risk injury.
  • If you are involved in a confrontation, reasonable force may be appropriate when used in self-defence (please see the link in Related Information for further guidance).


Answer

Listed below are a few points which will help to ensure you and your belongings are safe:

  • Keep bags closed and secure at all times.
  • Conceal your wallet or purse in a buttoned or zipped pocket where it doesn't bulge.
  • Avoid putting valuables such as phones, wallets or purses in your back pocket.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash with you when shopping.
  • Keep pin numbers secure, do not write them down.
  • If the fastening of your handbag is on the side, keep the side with the fastening closest to your body and not exposed.
  • Rucksack type bags with the opening on the back are not a good place to keep valuables as they are easily opened.
  • Keep your purse or wallet at the bottom of your bag.
  • Do not carry too many bags of shopping as it makes you vulnerable against pick pockets.
  • Do not hang bags on the back of a chair.

Here are some general personal safety tips to follow when you are out and about:

  • Do not walk home alone late at night. If you do, choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading or listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone, and whilst using it you may be distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • Carry a personal safety alarm.
  • If you are worried or threatened on public transport, contact the guard or the British Transport Police.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout 'fire' rather than 'help', it tends to attract more attention.


Answer

When travelling on public transport, the companies themselves issue a lot of advice particularly in the stations or on the buses and trains themselves. However, it is worth bearing in mind the following general advice when travelling:

  • Always sit downstairs on a bus, as near to the driver as possible.
  • On a train try not to sit in an empty compartment.
  • Make sure you keep hold of all personal belongings.
  • If something or someone is bothering you, inform the guard or driver, they can stay with you if you feel uncomfortable 
  • Try and have your fare ready so you don't have to get out your purse/wallet.

In relation to general personal safety try and remember the following suggestions:

  • Try not to walk alone late at night and where possible choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading or listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to use your mobile phone only in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone. Whilst using your mobile phone you may be distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout 'fire' rather than 'help', it tends to attract more attention.


Answer

It is much easier to steal a mobile phone when it is in use or on display. When you are using your mobile phone in a public place try and be aware of your surroundings and anyone that is perhaps stood close to you. In order to help prevent theft of your mobile phone keep it in a secure place on your person or in your bag.

You should also protectively mark your mobile phone. For further information on protective marking see the related question.

You should keep your contract or mobile phone box with the IMEI/serial number on it, in a safe place as the police will need to see evidence that you owned the phone, in the event that it is stolen. The contract or box are the only means of evidence the police will accept. A recent bill or delivery note will not be sufficient.

The IMEI/serial number on your phone is a number that is unique to your mobile phone. To find out what your IMEI number is type *#06# into your phone.
See the websites in Related Information for more information.

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