§ Mr. Tony Banks
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long the new disposable plastic handcuff has been available to police; if it has been tested and approved as safe by his Department; by whom it is manufactured; which police forces are in possession of it; and whether the guidelines for its use are the same as for conventional handcuffs.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
Plastic handcuffs have been in use by police in England and Wales since at least 1978. The decision whether or not to seek to acquire such handcuffs is a matter for chief officers of police, and information about their origin and distribution is not recorded centrally. The Department has not issued any advice about the acquisition of plastic handcuffs, but guidance on the use of all handcuffs is contained in paragraph 4.65 of the "Consolidated Circular on Crime and Kindred Matters", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.