No handcuffs

I have just been watching Juliet Bravo recently, after also having watched many episodes of modern day police documentaries, ie Brit Cops, StreetCrimeUK etc.

In these aforementioned modern day programmes, absolutely everyone who is arrested gets handcuffed. Whereas in Juliet Bravo, no arrested persons ever seem to get put in cuffs.

I have been wondering why this is. Is it because the UK police at the time of Juliet Bravo (ie the early 1980s) had different, more relaxed handcuffing policies?

I have been wondering this for quite a while, any insight would be greatly appreciated.



I was a police officer in the UK from 1977 till 2008. Juliet Bravo was one of the best things I ever saw on TV, and certainly one of the most realistic British cop shows.

For, I'd say, the first twenty years of my service I hardly ever used my handcuffs. In fact, I never even took them out with me - similarly my baton (the 12" piece of wood we were given) - body armour and pepper spray were of course unheard of. It was seen as a sign of weakness if you brought somebody in handcuffed.

However, after that, Health and Safety became a huge thing in the police. the hierarchy had been sued for neglect, quite rightly, on many occasions and so instituted procedures like handcuffing, suicide-proofing in vans (for the prisoners!), body armour, self-defence training etc. Some of it may have been effective but it was mainly a back-covering excercise by the bosses. "We're sorry he got beaten so badly he's a vegetable, but we DID provide him with his one day a year self-defence training".

Awight we're The Daamned we're a punk baand and this is called Carn't Be Appy T'day!


Thanks for that info, it has satisfied quite a bit of my curiosity! I had been wondering about the handcuffing for quite a while now. I have been arrested twice in my life, when I was 14 and 15, in 1990 and 1991 respectively. The first time was for theft of roadwork reflector lanterns (I was guilty), and the second was for suspicion of housebreaking (I was not guilty, my friends & I were just caught loitering outside a caretaker's house in a graveyard). Both these times I was arrested I was NOT handcuffed. I had previously assumed that this would have been because I was under 16. However recently I was watching Brit Cops and saw two 12 year old girls get handcuffed when they were arrested for shoplifting! So now I'd imagine that the reason I never got cuffed was because it was 20 years ago, before the use of handcuffs became widespread by the UK police, like you say.

Do you know exactly when it was that the UK police began handcuffing all arrestees as a matter of routine? Was it by any chance, the mid 1990s; round about the same time as they began aquiring the new style uniform and the duty-belt, with all the other equipment, ie CS gas etc? Ever since then I have always been able to see all police officers carrying their handcuffs attached to their duty-belts, whereas when they used to wear the old "shiny buttons" uniform, I don't recall even seeing them carrying handcuffs about their persons at all.