Loops Or No Loops?

I’ve been off-grid for a while, so let’s launch into the British summer with a light piece of typical Met management farce. Okay, I know we’re still in late spring here in the UK, but I’m wearing my shorts, so that makes it summer, okay?

In addition to handcuffs, cops also use leg restraints.


These are wide Velcro straps that wrap around a perp’s ankles and thighs, binding the legs tightly together. They prevent the prisoner from kicking us when he is going bananas, which often happens. They make threats towards us, then generally thrash around.



This can be an entertaining spectacle, but is potentially dangerous for both them and for us.

Against this poor behaviour we have leg restraints – a useful piece of kit that enables us to carry the person safely, without anybody getting hurt. The package normally includes two straps – one for the thighs and one for the ankles, and can be stored in a car’s glove-box.

For effective working, we do need one set per car, but for a long time we managed on my borough with only one set of leg restraints shared amongst all the officers. We used to refer to these as the ‘Met Leg Restraints’, much as we still refer to the sole functioning hole punch as the ‘Met Hole Punch’.

Management decided that one pair of straps was not sufficient, and ordered ten. That was their last sensible decision.

Several months later the restraints arrived on borough. Each pair was folded into a small fabric pouch.

“Why is there a loop on the back?” Asked my chief inspector, frowning.

“What if constables think that the loop is for them to carry it on their belts? What if they think these are personal issue, and remove them from the cars?”


“We’ve only got ten sets. They mustn’t be allowed to think they can carry one each.”

A constable suggested: “Sir, we could simply cut the loops off…or just tell officers that these aren’t personal issue.”

Unfortunately, police managers tend to filter out suggestions offered by underlings, unless they themselves can take credit for the ideas.

“I know what we’ll do!” the thrill of decision-making crossing his face. “We’ll send these back and re-order pouches without loops.”

A few weeks later the outsourced provider received the returned items and explained that they would have to design a bespoke product, as the standard item comes with the loop.


Unfortunately, the procurement rules required that the desired ‘loopless’ pouches be put out to tender a second time. That process took several months, the end result being that the original company was anyway selected – because they, of course, were the cheapest.

We’re now a year down the line, and the borough has unnecessarily spent thousands of pounds – in addition to several thousand pounds for ten units of the basic item.

Still further months later the specially-commissioned leg restraints arrived.


It was easy money for the contractors. I expect they simply unpicked the stitches that attached each loop. Then charged the Met thousands of pounds. That’s what any intelligent person would do.

The worst part of this is that a valuable piece of equipment was withheld from officers for months – equipment that can stop violent imbeciles from kicking them, or running away – and all because police managers can’t think for themselves, or are too scared to do so.

They rarely see the sensible course of action – obvious to any halfwit – even when it’s suggested by their own constables.