ARE WALL SPIKES AND RAZOR WIRE LEGAL?
The simple answer is yes, however there are several factors that should be considered before fitting. Although razor wire and wall spikes are very effective deterrents to intruders, careful consideration should be given to mitigating your liability should anyone injure themselves whether innocently or not whilst on your property.
There are several laws on the matter one of which is the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 which basically states that anyone who owns, or controls property has a legal duty of care to protect people on the property from foreseeable harm. This duty extends to people on the property without permission – including burglars and vandals.
To help discharge this duty we would always advise that clear warning signs such as “Danger Razor Wire or Danger Wall spikes” etc are fitted at sufficient intervals that they are undeniably visible and present a clear warning to potential trespassers of the hazard. Additionally these signs should be of sufficient design that they wont deteriorate with time and are robust enough to withstand prolonged inclement weather and sun bleaching. Additionally the Razor wire or wall spikes should be located in a position that they are clearly visible, setting a trap or camouflaging the products would almost certainly create a potential legal issue should an intruder be harmed as a result.
Of course, it is not only intruders and trespassers who risk being injured by the Razor wire or Wall spikes. Householders owe a much greater duty of care to anyone on the property with permission including guests and people who have implied permission, such as the postman. Consider the danger posed to any children who may be visiting the property. If a child was injured after climbing on a wall fitted with Razor wire, the householder is very likely to have breached their duty of care.
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 provides some protection to householders. For instance if a trespasser suffers an injury during the course of a crime, for which they are subsequently convicted for, they will only be able to sue the occupier or landowner with the court’s permission. If it can be shown that there were adequate warning signs and the deterrent was clearly visible this is unlikely to be given. Other Legal Restrictions
Section 164 of the Highways Act 1980 states that barbed wire (or Razor wire) on land adjoining a public highway must not cause a nuisance to humans or animals using the highway. Anything placed below 2.4 metres high will usually be deemed to be causing a nuisance and the local authority can issue a notice demanding its removal.