August 21st, 2006

Do You Mind if I Put These On?

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

This is a bit belated but the site was down when it was current at the beginning of July so I couldn’t post about it. You can see the news story at the BBC News site.

Steven Graham, a Sandhurst Staff Sgt, was convicted of the manslaughter of PC Joe Carroll who died in a tragic road traffic accident in Northumberland in April.

Graham had been arrested following a domestic & was in the rear of the police vehicle when he grabbed the handbrake causing the police vehicle to crash at 70mph.

Graham was not handcuffed at the time. The officers were taking him to Newcastle police station as the cells at the nearest custody suite were full.

In what appears to be an attempt to shift the blame for the consequences of his action, Graham stated that “I believe that this whole incident could have been avoided had the cells at Hexham police station been able to receive prisoners… and if I had – as is the policy in other police forces – not been left unsrestrained & alone in the rear of the police vehicle when I was drunk.” 

I find it strange that currently my experience is that we have to justify why we handcuffed a prisoner rather than justify why we have not. From what I’ve seen in some other countries handcuffing is just about mandatory. What better way to signify to someone that their liberty has just been removed than handuffing them.

One of the early lessons I learned was that until you are back at either the police vehicle or the police station you never take your hand off the prisoner. It sems that we lose so many prisoners these days when they just run off that this particular lesson is no longer taught wherever new officers learn their trade these days.

I have no idea whether handcuffing Steven Graham would have saved the meaningless waste of another police officer’s life, I use it merely as an example of why handcuffing policy in the UK must change.

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