Police hand cuffs are devices which restrain a person’s hands by locking them together at the wrists, thus making it difficult for the individual to escape or hurt anyone should there be a melee. Police and other law enforcement personnel have been using hand cuffs in one shape or another for many years. The hand cuff that is commonly seen has been around since the mid 1800s but between then and now there have been numerous variations developed.
There is absolutely nothing new about typing a person’s hands to immobilize him and deny him of freedom of movement, the concept goes back to ancient times. The earliest versions of metal hand cuffs were nothing more than hinged loops which could be closed over a prisoners wrists and locked together. Although these hand cuffs worked, they were not adjustable so prisoners with small wrists were often able to wiggle their way out of them and the opposite was true by prisoners with large wrists, the cuffs pinched and were tight.
It was in the early 1860s when a ratchet was first introduced, thus making the police hand cuffs adjustable to different size wrists. This design is still in common use to this day. The design is quite simple; it consists of two bracelets which are connected by a few links of chain. When the cuffs are put on they are snapped into position with the end which is ratcheted entering the end which is not. The ratchet catches on a pawl; the hand cuff is then tightened and then locked. The locking mechanism is designed so that the cuffs cannot accidently be closed too tightly.
Because of concerns that injuries may occur with the chain, there are hand cuffs that eliminate it all together by hinging the two bracelets together. This design brings the prisoners hands closer together, reducing any risk from harm. Other cuffs are still separated but rather than a chain, a padded metal bar is used.
Police officers carry hand cuffs and they are authorized to use them when they feel the situation demands restraint. They are trained in the use of the cuffs and they are expected to use them properly and to consider the comfort and well being of the prisoner.
Police hand cuffs in a number of different designs and finishes are available online from Safety Basement.