Handcuff Met Police officers will 'ask themselves' 44 questions

Metropolitan Police officers will ‘ask themselves’ 44 questions when restraining suspects, only handcuff ‘when justified’ and ask if the cuffs are ‘comfortable’ under Cressida Dick’s new policy

  • The new policy features 44 questions officers should consider in future
  • It was sparked after complaints black communities were being targeted
  • The policy also contains east ABCDE guide for officers to think about 

A new Met Police policy on handcuffing sparked by complaints black people were being disproportionately restrained expects officers to ask themselves 44 questions.

The mammoth decision process is laid out in full in the new 25-page document published by the London-based force.

It puts into official policy nearly 50 questions officers may consider when they are using the police-issue restraints.

They include ‘Could I explain my action or decision in public?’ and ‘What would the victim or community affected expect of me in this situation?’

Most are from the College of Policing’s National Decision Model but are now enshrined in the official equipment policy. 

Also featured is an alphabet themed guide to handcuffing that warns to ‘Always ask the suspect if the cuffs are too tight’.

Commissioner Cressida Dick at the CST (Community Security Trust) Business Lunch at Nobu

The Alphabet-themed ABCDE of Handcuffing was also part of the new policy document

The Met publicised the new policy this morning, which comes after a review by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist. 

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: ‘My number one priority remains tackling violent crime and keeping people safe from street crime – which is blighting the lives of too many young people.

‘Alongside that, I have set out to increase the trust and confidence of communities in their police service.

‘We know that not all communities have the same level of trust in us – I am determined to change that.

The review was carried out into the handcuffing of people within the Met force area in London

‘The handcuffing review could not have taken place effectively without the input and contribution of many front line police officers and members of the public. I thank them all for their time, effort and valuable honesty.’

The policy follows a review commissioned by the Met Commissioner Cressida Dick in 2019 into the use of handcuffs before an arrest has taken place.

It came after complaints from black communities they were being disproportionately targeted.

The Met said the review would make sure the tactic, for which there is a sound legal basis in some circumstances, was justified and recorded on each occasion.

It fed in consultation responses from young black men aged between 16 to 25 years-old.

A Met spokeswoman said: ‘The launch of the policy, which covers all aspects of the use of handcuffs, is the final recommendation from the 2020 review to be implemented.

‘Officers are already receiving additional legal training, more public and personal safety training, with further emphasis on de-escalation; and more community input to understand the respective experiences of the public and police officers during encounters on the streets of London.’ 

The 44 questions police should consider in Met handcuff policy 

1. Is what I am considering consistent with the Code of Ethics?

2. What would the victim or community affected expect of me in this situation?

3. What does the police service expect of me in this situation?

4. Is this action or decision likely to reflect positively on my professionalism and policing generally?

5. Could I explain my action or decision in public?

6. What is happening?

7. What do I know so far?

8. What do I not know?

9. What further information (or intelligence) do I want/need at this moment?

10. Do I need to take action immediately?

11. Do I need to seek more information?

12. What could go wrong (and what could go well)?

13. What is causing the situation?

14. How probable is the risk of harm?

15. How serious would it be?

16. Is that level of risk acceptable?

17. Is this a situation for the police alone to deal with?

18. Am I the appropriate person to deal with this?

19. What am I trying to achieve?

20. Will my action resolve the situation?

21. What police powers might be required?

22. Is there any national guidance covering this type of situation?

23. Do any local organisational policies or guidelines apply?

24. What legislation might apply?

25. Is there any research evidence?

26. If decision makers have to account for their decisions, will they be able to say they were proportionate, legitimate, necessary and ethical?

27. Reasonable in the circumstances facing them at the time? 

28. Does anyone else need to know what you have decided?

29. What happened as a result of your decision?

30. Was it what you wanted or expected to happen? 

31. How were the principles and standards of professional behaviour demonstrated during the situation?

32. What information or intelligence was available?

33. What factors (potential benefits and harms) were assessed?

34. What threat and risk assessment methods were used (if any)?

35. Was a working strategy developed and was it appropriate?

36. Were there any powers, policies and legislation that should have been considered? 

37. If policy was not followed, was this reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances?

38. How were feasible options identified and assessed?

39. Were decisions proportionate, legitimate, necessary and ethical?

40. Were decisions reasonable in the circumstances facing the decision maker?

41. Were decisions communicated effectively?

42. Were decisions and the rationale for them recorded as appropriate?

43. Were decisions monitored and reassessed where necessary?

44. What lessons can be learnt from the outcomes and how the decisions were made? 

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