A modern aid for security units

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemA Police car patrol comes fast to the place of action. Unpleasant sound of the Police car brakes is heard. A group of young men, who have just ransacked one of the shops, runs away to all directions under blue light of flashing beacons. The running couple of Policemen react fast: “In the name of the law, stop!” The delinquents, who threw away the stolen items in panic, stop only after the sound of a warning shot. “Get down! Put your hands aside and do not move”. Motionless silhouettes lie now around on the ground. “Back me up,” says one of the law enforcing officers and puts his weapon back into the holder and pulls out metal handcuffs. The handcuffs click on hands of the first offender. The glimmery handcuffs of his colleague click of wrests of the second criminal shortly after that. But, what should they do next? There are still three other persons that are not yet restrained persons and no more handcuffs are left…

 

The absence of a suitable device

Such a situation is nothing unusual for many experienced Police officers. A similar situation happened many times before during their patrols in streets. The absence of an easily storable device, which would suitably supplement classical handcuffs in such precarious situations, seems to be more and more actual during Police activities. In brief, when there is nothing else available, you simply cannot do much... The cases, in which you need to “limit the free movement” of a higher number of people, are not rare. And they do not have to be mass events like demonstrations, soccer matches, or various “Czech techs”. Organisation of criminals in larger groups has become recently common and does not necessarily indicate cases in which some syndicates of mafia are involved. Simply, in couples (or more people…) the “jobs” are more interesting and more easily done. This is why even relatively routine Police actions require a satisfactory number of suitable aids, which provide for the possibility of replacing usual standard means in practice at least for a short time.

In history, the handcuffing related to the need of securing captives or imprisoned persons. The first metal handcuffs of the type still used today were manufactured at the same time when the first law and order policing units were put together. At first, they were determined for imprisoned criminals in transport, later even for arresting actions. At first, they were very primitive, heavy and not compact aids. The recent design was developed roughly at the beginning of the last century. In the Czech Republic, within security forces, metal Ralk type handcuffs are considered the basic “enforcing devices” used for the limiting of movements (the prevention of attacks and escaping). They have been in service now for many decades. Differing opinions exist on them – some consider them as solid means verified by the long use, while others indicate the “hot need of a change” for some more modern policing “work means”. However, one thing is certain – having more of the heavy traditional metal handcuffs at once is almost impossible in practice. Both specialists from the security sector and the majority of ordinary Police officers agree on one thing - on the fact that the time has got ripe for across the board implementation of new supplementary equipment. There are calls for suitable modern means which would resolve, in an optimal way, the above-mentioned and often difficult situations.

 

 

Plastic materials in action

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe interest in suitable supplementary equipment, used for at least short time limitation of criminals’ movements or for securing rampaging brutes, has not been anything new. The demands occurred again after the issue of a service manual – there has been the need of a simple, cheap and properly functioning and practical solution. It should be light and compact enough to enable Police officers to carry permanently more pieces of the device at once, but without the significant limitation of their movements during patrols. And there has been one additional problem – when a Police officer uses his or her metal handcuffs on a perpetrator during a mass event and the person is then escorted elsewhere, it is highly improbable that the officer would see the device again. This is a typical problem when troubles with soccer rowdies are solved, but also during street demonstrations, or larger operations saving hostages, when all present people are handcuffed because of security reasons. The absence of such equipment is not just the Czech problem. A similar dilemma has occurred to Police officers around the world. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Police in US got clearly inspired by a commonly used aid – the fastening strips manufactured of plastic materials. Until then, this had been a device used for the fixing of various items (for example, tomatoes to the holding stick). The principle is clear – the strip can be tied up by pulling the strip on one side, but even big strength cannot loosen it then… This principle has been consequently adjusted for new purposes – the temporary handcuffing of people. The new strips got a new and more resistant shaped profile, instead of the flat one, and the inside “lock” has been supplemented with a metal draw lamella for the better fixing after the tie up.

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe so-called “Flex Cuffs” have been designed like that. This practical Police disposable device was then more and more often implemented within the security sector. The first extensive use took place in Los Angeles in 1992 during huge racial unrest. The alternative handcuffs proved successful in situations, in which there was a regular war raging in American streets and the numbers of detainees reached thousands. Thanks to their low weight and the possibility to carry several tens of the devices, they have attracted also the attention of the US Army, especially when special antiterrorist operations were considered. This interesting novelty has become quite popular and wide spread around the world during the following years. In our country, similar plastic handcuffs were officially used by Police units in connection with two massive security actions at the end of the last century – the meeting of the International Monetary Fund and, a bit later, the NATO summit. It must be said that the first clones of the handcuffs’ features were far from their American models – at first, they were the common black industrial fasteners, which physically stronger people could easily remove. More advanced and resistant devices, designed for the Police purposes, have occurred only recently.

 

The basic disadvantage

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemWe might say that the plastic “disposable devices” have fulfilled the original purpose (they temporarily secure a person until the time when the standard metal handcuffs become available), but there have been a number of disadvantages too. The oldest handcuffs feature only one big eye which is put over both crossed hands and that makes the fixation problematic. For example, when they are negligibly tightened, there is the real risk that a handier perpetrator could free himself or herself. This relates especially to those persons with slimmer hands (like, for example, women…). Their stiffness prevents copying the wrist shape, while the maximum tightening causes lost feeling in the hands. However, these are not the worst shortcomings listed by the plastic handcuffs users in practice. Most of them are worried because of the device relative cumbrousness. The device stiffness basically allows just for two ways how to carry them. The first one assumes their flat form – when the strips are not poked through their lock. They could be carried more comfortably side by side like that with the belt, behind the pants’ loops, or across a shoulder hidden in the tactical vest. In real situations, this means a bit easier carrying, but you unfortunately pay for it – the enforcing devices are not, almost tragically, ready for the use. Their handling as handcuffs is difficult in pressing situations. Putting the strip through the thin slit of the lock is under stress, in critical moments and in gloves, neither fast nor easy.

 

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe second variant counts on some “pre preparation” of the strips into the form of loops (some providers supply the devices in this form and the loops are joint in couples so you get one for each hand). However, this variant shows other substantial difficulties in practice – the cumbersome bundle cannot be put anywhere “inside” and the only way is to clip them outside. Then, the user carries the bundle on his side. The bundle rattles unpleasantly and could limit movements in some situations, catches on the user’s weapon, other equipment, or items around. It has also happened quite often (both in training and in real situations) that one of the fighters, accidentally caught by the handcuffs on a door handle or some other surrounding items, was surprisingly thrown back, or, even worse, struck down on the floor unconscious. These stories are good for the smiling camera style entertainment, but such mistakes in risky situations could result in lost lives.

 

Practical law enforcement aid

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThat was the reason for the occurrence of clear demands on a similar disposable service device, which would be much better storable. This has asked for a material, which would be strong, but much more flexible. The solution has been found in special nylon straps – similar to those used, for example, by mountain climbers. They are flexible enough and can carry hundreds of kilograms in pull, and they are also highly tear resistant. Consequently, there were attempts to transfer this idea into practice. However, this required finding a suitable lock – a mechanism, which would allow easy tightening of the handcuffs on hands without the possibility of the culprit’s release. That proved to be the problem. In spite of the fact that many renowned firms tried to find the solution, the results were the same – the locking part was not satisfactory during realistic tests organised by Police specialists. All accessible products ended after repeated tests similarly – the handcuffs fell apart in the lock and the person could get away. When there was a really physically strong individual selected for the test, who could grit his teeth and overcome even strong pain (something expected from a person who can finish in prison for a number of years…), the strips broke lose from the central catch after a while. And that happened in situations when the person was on his back (as it should be). The “strip handcuffs” seemed to be the blind end.

 

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemHowever, the idea remained attractive because high quality and resistant handcuffs, many pieces of which could be carried in a pocket, would mean a great benefit for the policing practice. ESP Co. from Prague, well-known thanks to its popular telescopic batons, attempted to resolve the issue just for this reason. A number of unsuccessful attempts and a relatively long development followed. The designers were transferring from one workshop to another for three years. They also approached other designers and consultants from the experienced Police ranks. They tried many created prototypes during tests. One of the ESP Co. owners said that the problem would be resolved only when the device reliably withstands his weight – that was the pull of good 120 Kg, which is probably impossible to create with your hands behind your back. One of the tested systems celebrated the long expected success in the end. The very unique design of a rotating metal stopper with a side point, fixed in a plastic corpus by a rubber slug, presented the final solution.

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemSince the beginning, it has not been only about the high quality handcuffs as also other related accessories were considered. For example, the issue of releasing had to be resolved as well. In the case of the older plastic handcuffs, the action presented a problem and many users felt the lack of a cheap and simple solution. A special pair of scissors had been required until then. They were not easily accessible, not cheap, and quite bulky for Police officers in streets. Their removal with a common knife cutting the resistant material close to arteries was highly risky (Note: there was an unfortunate case in which the edge of the officer’s knife slipped during the “releasing action” and the handcuffed delinquent got stabbed in his back…). Since the beginning, ESP Co. has seen the need of a special simple accessory for the fast, easy and safe releasing from the new handcuffs. After a while, there has been a small and well thought through plastic device developed, whose price has not exceeded the price of single handcuffs (i.e., some CZK 25). Thanks to a hidden cutting edge, it can remove the handcuffs quickly without any threat to anybody around.

 

A small pouch has also been designed, into which handcuffs could be put by officers who do not wish to carry them in their pockets. A container for more handcuffs was developed later. This one has been determined for the squads ensuring an order during mass events. “Red” training version of the new device is also available. So, they are not just the handcuffs, but a whole complex well-designed service system exists, which is very perspective, according to many top specialists in the security sector.

 

A rare test

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe success of the new device has been recently confirmed by very realistic tests organised within special training. A well-known strongman from a special squad was selected for the verification of the necessary quality. He is so well physically able that it would be very difficult to find a similar one in our population. He simulated a very resistant culprit, who wanted to release himself from the handcuffs almost at any price (like he was expecting ten years of hard imprisonment…). He tried a unique “fight” with this new tactical equipment. We must admit that the situation was made easier to him a bit by the fact that his wrists were well protected during this unusual test with a soft protective layer. That allowed him to develop the maximum pull his extremely well trained body could accomplish. This unique test started after careful installation of the handcuffs made by ESP. The figurant pulled carefully at first, but later in full strength. Puffy muscles, veins looking like ropes – the handcuffs looked like they would explode. In the end, we heard a pronounced cracking sound. Some people thought about a broken strip, while others tipped the broken lock. However, it was badly broken bone as we all found a bit later. It should be said that not many people among the on lookers expected that this “string like” material and the relatively delicate design would resist so well the boundary human skills. In addition, as the “testing person” recognised by himself later, he would not be able to develop such a strength without the softening bandage (he is a very resistant person who can overcome pain, but despite the protective layers, there were purple lines on his wrists which healed only slowly). The mentioned test thus provides for the necessary warranty that this new equipment could become a very reliable aid to all who, in their jobs, undertake activities, during which the quality securing of a risky person could be vital.

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe ESP handcuffs are practical, while very compact. You can thus carry several pieces of them in your pocket. This makes the device ideal not only for ordinary Police officers in summer, when they are dressed in a close-fitting pair of trousers and a light shirt, but also for members of security squads who regularly do their jobs in civil clothes – like, for example, criminalists, members of pursuing units, or members of VIP teams. Until recently used classical plastic handcuffs, prepared as loops, caused often many problems during training and in real situations. The bulky rattling tangle hanging from the other equipment has been relatively obstructing and, in addition, could catch on surrounding items in the most difficult situations. No wonder that this novelty by ESP was welcomed especially by emergency squads and special arresting Police teams.

The classical metal handcuffs used in the Czech Republic. They are almost historical artefacts, which will have to be modernised soon, according to many knowledgeable people. In addition, thanks to their weight, you can only hardly carry more of them at once. This has been the reason why the disposable handcuffs become more common in our country too.

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

 
 

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThis completely new security aid is at the disposal also in a striking yellow colour. The purpose of this clone, of the distinct design, is clear – you need good view over all handcuffed people during actions taken against a larger number of persons, like during demonstrations, soccer matches or mass street unrest. Members of the law and order enforcing units can thus easily monitor the already handcuffed people even at night or under worsened light conditions.

 

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe new and revolutionary fixing mechanism is very interesting. It has been now featuring a rotary stopper with a side point, which bites in automatically by a countermove and gets fixed “forever”. Mountain climbers use something similar. Sealing rubber rolls significantly benefit the fixation of the strip. The nylon strap itself can carry a relatively high weight. Recent tests have shown the strap resistance in pull at about 170 Kg!

 

It seems that many army units could use the new handcuffs in future as a very interesting alternative within their equipment and this is not true just for the Military Police. Demands occur in connection with activities undertaken in many foreign missions. Because of the weight of usually carried equipment, it is highly unlikely that soldiers would want to carry the common metal handcuffs in addition to their ammunition and heavy ballistic protective aids. Many army veterans say from their experience that there have been many situations in which soldiers would like to prevent movements of a larger number of risky people.

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Disposable handcuffing ESP systemThe complete set consists also of a special light and quite small apparatus serving for the easy and safe removal of the tightened handcuffs. This very practical aid is usually carried together with a pulling string looking like the children’s yoyo. The cutting aid is thus always ready on the belt or tactical vest and it does not obstruct any movements.

The removal of handcuffs with the cutting aid is a very simple and fast activity. Some Police officers have successfully tested it also for the emergency cutting of safety belts in cars in critical situations in which they can find themselves during patrols when attending car accidents.

 

ESP, when developing the service equipment and enforcing aids, systematically remembers also the possibilities of realistic training. Even the best equipment might fail without the right know-how. The satisfactory knowledge and skills related to the proper use. In past, many very practical pieces of equipment were created within the complex training programmes. They were, for example, the training metal pistol, water spray, a rubber knife, a softened baton, or the training variant of the new handcuffs. Members of armed forces can make the needed tactical procedures automatic in model situations.

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

 

According to many knowledgeable opinions, the new handcuffs are the aid which can help in resolving many precarious situations during policing jobs. The results of the first tests of the new product suggest big perspectives within official security units.

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

 

One of the practical uses of the training handcuffs

Mr. Pavel Černý, the leading ESP methodologist, teaches another application of the new service equipment to instructors of the Spanish Police Force during one of his foreign courses. The figurant ends on the ground quickly like a motionless package by the clever use of two handcuffs.

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Not only new handcuffs were developed, it has been the ingenious complex service system which has got big perspectives, according to leading specialists from the security sector. The current enthusiastic reactions prove the fact that the device is a revolutionary and, thanks to its unusual properties, captures trust of those who should use it in future for the law and order enforcement.

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As more and more tasks of the current army units get the character of policing activities, when ensuring order and security in troubled areas of the world, this kind of aids, like the disposable handcuffs, becomes highly valued.

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Disposable handcuffing ESP system Disposable handcuffing ESP system
 

Disposable handcuffing ESP systemJust recently, special polymer pouches for 3, 6, or even 9 pieces (for the units operating during demonstrations) have been added for the carrying of these devices. A pair of these boxes, placed on the equipment, guarantee to the team that they will be able to handcuff, when needed, “one half of the street residents”.

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The new handcuffs by ESP during one of the larger drills undertaken by special emergency squad of the Military Police. One person after another is secured by this simple, but highly functional service aid during the antiterrorist action taken against a bus.

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Disposable handcuffing ESP system

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

Disposable handcuffing ESP system Disposable handcuffing ESP system

The ESP handcuffs during the drill of antiterrorist PRI unit in the far away exotic Congo. The unexpectedly favourite reactions coming from abroad prove the fact that the work has been successful and another good and very unique product has been developed in our country.

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Disposable handcuffing ESP system

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

Disposable handcuffing ESP system

Disposable handcuffing ESP system Disposable handcuffing ESP system
Disposable handcuffing ESP system

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