British citizens seeking advice on what’s legal to use for self-defense found some answers at www.askthe.police.uk, a website sponsored and operated by the government’s Police National Legal Database.
Question 589: Are there any legal self-defence products that I can buy?
Answer: The only fully legal self-defence product … is a rape alarm.
There may be other products, according to the website, but they haven’t been fully tested and “if you purchase one you must be aware … there is always the possibility that you will arrested and detained until the product, its contents and legality, can be verified.”
In an effort to reduce any anxiety, the website goes on to point out that any product a British citizen purchases, other than a rape alarm, “must not be a product which is made to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.”
It offers some suggestions, along with a disclaimer. A British citizen may use a squirt bottle filled with a safe but brightly colored dye that may help police find and apprehend a criminal after the attack has been successfully completed. But, says the website, a citizen “should be aware that even a seemingly safe product … would become an offensive weapon [if] it would be used in a way that is intended to cause injury.”