Sussex Police is the only force still using dated chain and Chubb handcuffs, Police Oracle can reveal.
Officers were in disbelief on social media when discovering the force opted for the “outdated” model until very recently with many saying they have been using rigid handcuffs since the 1990s.
Today I’ve been trained in the use of the new rigid cuffs, goodbye chain links ???? time will tell what I prefer..... pic.twitter.com/qGf4kPPCFq— PC Andre Owen (@PCAndreOwen) August 7, 2018
Wow ?? I was trained on rigid back in 1999, didn’t think anywhere had chain still.— Kev (@sccopne) August 7, 2018
Welcome to 1991, you'll like it here! Rigid cuffs definitely give you more control over a DP.— Plod (@PolicemansLot) August 7, 2018
Our reporter contacted every force in England and Wales asking which type of handcuffs their officers use with all confirming rigid or hinged.
Two months ago Sussex Police begun rigid cuff training with a full rollout expected to take another year.
A force spokesman said the decision was taken after the benefits were realised – giving officers increased control over detainees as well as being easier and quicker to put on.
However, it did not provide an answer as to why it had only just decided to introduce the new cuffs.
Simon Steele, secretary of the Sussex Police Federation, told Police Oracle he thinks the force's reluctance to adopt them could be down to potential personal injury claims.
He said: “I am surprised it has only just started to bring them in as so many other forces have had them for many years.
“I think it is down to trying to avoid potential personal injury claims against the force and it was taking a cautious approach because rigid cuffs are perceived to involve a greater risk of injury.”
He added there have been complaints previously with officers wondering why they were still being supplied with chain cuffs due to their impracticalities.
“Anything that helps with officers restraining offenders is welcomed," he said. “The chain handcuffs were awkward to use at times and I think the rigid cuffs give a greater element of control over the suspect.
“The changes are positive steps. We have had many rumblings with officers in the past with them asking why haven’t they got the rigid cuffs yet.”
Disadvantages include the chain allowing too much movement and if not fitted properly, detainees stand a chance freeing their hands from the cuffs.
A force spokesman said: “Training on rigid cuffs started in June this year and the roll-out is expected to take up to a year.
“It will apply to all officers and chain cuffs will be gradually withdrawn as the training is carried out. Training is being done during routine regular personal safety training for all officers, and for all new recruits.”