Handcuffs

So, why do police or law enforcement use handcuffs? You probably already know this, but it's to restrain a suspect's arms.

Normally a person taken into custody has their hands placed behind their back, at which point the cuffs are applied. This isn't always the case. Every once and a while you will come across someone that is sooo big ( either obese or roided out ) that they are inflexible and cannot reach behind their back. There are a few options in a case like this.

One option is to put them on in front, but the suspect will still have use of their arms ( although it won't be completely free movement).

Another option is to use " leg irons" in place of the cuffs. Those are basically the same except they are designed to be placed on a suspect's ankles and restrict their walking ability. The chain linking the right and left side of the cuffs are longer so that a suspect can walk but not long enough to allow them to run.

The last option is to take two pairs of cuffs and cuff one side to the other so that they act as a single unit but are stretched out so that the suspect does not have to reach as far behind.


Handcuffs have been used for centuries in one form or another. It wasn't until an inventor by the name of Adams created the ratcheting mechanism for the metal incarnation, that they really changed. Prior to that, there was no way of adjusting to make up for differences in wrist sizes from prisoner to prisoner.

Currently, there are many types of handcuffs. Some are composed of chain linkage, some are hinged linkage. Some have plastic housing covers which are placed over top of the cuffs once they are placed on the suspect, to prevent anyone from trying to pick open the locking mechanism.

As a police officer, you will be putting handcuffs on, and taking them off of suspects on a fairly regular basis. It's a tool that you will use to protect yourself- at times, to prevent a situation for escalating and getting out of hand before a serious physical altercation takes place.


But, it can also be dangerous. Things can be unpredictable at times. One thing to make sure of when you un-cuff a suspect, whether it be to just release him or her at the scene, or because you have him back at the station house, is to CLOSE them after you have un-cuffed one side.

See the photograph below? How the single strand is open and exposed creating a point?


There have been cases where officers have left one of the strands exposed, just to have the suspect wheel around and swing the cuffs to throw a punch. The pointed strand striking the officer in the face causing serious injury, either piercing an eye or cutting open the skin.

Be sure to close the cuffs.

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