Crime and victim campaigners have savaged the Met Police’s new 44-question handcuff policy, calling it ’embarrassing’ and treating trained police officers like children’.
The Centre for Crime Prevention said crooks would not give PCc the luxury of the time to mull over the near-50 considerations in the guidance.
And it suggested the document would raise yet more of its own questions – but this time about the leadership of under-fire Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.
David Spencer, research director at the centre, told MailOnline: ‘Plenty of people are of the view that police priorities tend to be the wellbeing of criminals rather than the law abiding public and this will go some way to reinforce that perception.
‘It is also quite simply treating trained police officers like children and is hugely patronising to the vast majority of police officers who are arresting potentially dangerous suspects every single day.
‘Most arrests will not give police the luxury of considering 44 questions before apprehending a suspect. They are working on instinct and applying their training and this is where such questions should be, and are, drummed into them.
‘It is difficult to imagine how Cressida Dick’s time as Commissioner could get much more embarrassing for the Met, but this policy is certainly doing its best.
‘There are already serious question marks about whether Cressida Dick is the right person to be leading the Met and proclamations like this are only going to undermine her authority still further.’
The Alphabet-themed ABCDE of handcuffing was also part of the new policy document
Commissioner Cressida Dick at the CST (Community Security Trust) Business Lunch at Nobu
The policy on handcuffing tells officers to ask themselves 44 questions before arresting a suspect and details the procedure in a child-style ABC guide.
Its mammoth decision process is laid out in full in the new 25-page document published by Scotland Yard.
David Spencer, research director at the Centre for Crime Prevention slated the policy
It puts into official policy nearly 50 questions officers should consider when they are using the police-issue restraints.
The questions include, ‘What could go wrong (and what could go well)?’, ‘What is happening?’, and, ‘What do I not know?’.
Other advice to mull over also includes, ‘Do I need to take action immediately?’ 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.
It is not clear what the Met’s previous policy on the police restraint tactic had been.
But the new rules have been drawn up after complaints from the black community they had been disproportionately targeted in stop and search.
The review was carried out into the handcuffing of people within the Met force area in 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?
Also featured is an alphabet-themed guide to handcuffing that warns to, ‘Always ask the suspect if the cuffs are too tight’.
It includes the advice to ‘always double-lock the handcuffs’.
The Met publicised the new policy yesterday morning, which came after a review by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist.
Industry insiders and former police officers have slammed the alphabet-style guide, with former Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley warning it was indicative of the ‘weakness of senior police leadership’.
He told GB News: ‘Frankly, it’s an example of the ineptitude, the pusillanimous, the weakness of decision-making that we now see with senior police leadership.
‘Police officers, when they decide to use force or apply handcuffs, need to run through in their mind a lot of different things which comes down to: “Is this the right thing to be doing, and can I defend my options?”
‘What we’ve now see happen is something that’s going to affect three groups of people.
‘First, it is going to put off the cops using force or arresting people. There’s nothing more difficult than trying to get some officers to deal with confrontation.
‘It’s very easy to back down. The hard thing is to motivate a police officer to be nosy.
‘The second thing is, the public are going to think: “What on earth is going on here?”
‘The third point really is that those who are “baddies”, it’s going to give them an opportunity for an outer.’
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said of the force’s new policy: ‘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 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.’
Last October a highly criticial review of the Met’s use of stop and search powers has revealed officers stopped two black men after they were seen ‘fist bumping,’.
The review by the Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed the officers thought the pair had just completed a drug deal, in one of a number of issues raised by the watchdog.
It found handcuffs were used in nearly all instances where other tactics could have de-escalated an encounter, while officers also failed to use bodycam video from the outset of their interaction with some members of the public.
The IOPC said their review ‘mirrors concerns,’ already raised by communities in the Capital.
Regional director Sal Naseem said: ‘We saw a lack of understanding from officers about why their actions were perceived to be discriminatory.’