Three of my friends “volunteered” to help out with the first picture, which shows a C & S Security Inc. gang chain. This is made with as many security links as the customer requires, I ordered a three link one. The security links, which are identical to the one on the belly chain they supply to go with their “black box” security cover, will accommodate chain link or hinged handcuffs or those fitted with that security cover.

C & S Co. Gang Chain

The following photographs all feature my assistant James in a variety of restraints to demonstrate their use. First a Hiatt-Thompson transport set over an “Eagle” transport vest. The vest is a pinafore-like garment made of relatively tear proof material, which has two vertical rows of loops, back and front, to accommodate a belly chain. This makes it impossible for the prisoner to slip the chain down over the hips, important with very slim or rather stout individuals. Model 2050C hinged “C” range handcuffs are used. These have metal pieces welded and riveted between the cheek plates to prevent them being forced apart. This means that the handcuffs no longer have a swinging bow, but, as they are not meant for use as arrest handcuffs, that capability is no longer as important as the security need. These handcuffs are then fitted with the “Blue Box # 2”, model 7082 (the “Blue Box # 1” is a blue version of the security cover, similar to the C & S “Black Box”) which isn’t blue at all (though a blue version is now available), it is made entirely of steel, but functions on hinged handcuffs in the same way that the ordinary security box operates on chain link handcuffs. A model 7077 belly chain secures the handcuffs to his waist and is padlocked at the rear using a "Con Lock" padlock which is opened with a standard handcuff key. Then a model 7078 connector chain links the belly chain to a pair of model 5000 leg-irons. Finally, a disposable anti-spitting mask is fitted.

Hiatt-Thompson Transport Kit

The next picture shows James in an American “Bioguard” restraint system. This is designed for use by two or more officers, who have to restrain a violent and struggling prisoner. It is meant to supersede “hog tying”, which has caused several “sudden death in custody” incidents in recent years. At first it is applied to a prisoner lying prone, whose hands are cuffed behind his back. The wrists can then be put into the integral straps later.

Bioguard restraint

An older restraint for violent prisoners was the strait jacket. Usually this has long sleeves which are fastened behind the back after the arms are crossed in front of the body. The jacket illustrated is the British “Home Office Approved” pattern, which has internal pocket sleeves. Because these are not so adjustable as the usual externally sleeved pattern, they came in several sizes.

Home Office pattern Strait-Jacket

The Bren company of the Czech Republic is another famous gun manufacturer that makes handcuffs etc. This is their transport belt, a simple but clever device, a belt that is held closed by the chain that also secures the handcuffs (this is now available in double thickness leather, lined with two thin steel strips to prevent cutting). Bren “Ralkem” brand hinged link handcuffs are featured, but almost any type of handcuff can be used. This company also uses the brand name “Pouta”. It has been privatised and now uses the trade mark "ALFA proj")

Ralkem Belt & Handcuffs

This gadget by Clejuso is unique amongst modern restraints, it uses handcuffs of the very heavy type illustrated in section two, replacing one shackle with a spring loaded anchor. This anchor can be used to fasten the shackle to a conveniently placed ring in a room or vehicle. The hook’s lock is secured by pressing its double lock button.

Clejuso Shackle and Anchor

The next device is most unusual. It is a replica of a restraint, a waist and ankle hobble, used by the Dutch police at one time. A leather belt, buckled at the front if the hands are behind and at the back if they are in front, has a wooden piece attached that reaches down to where another strap secures one ankle. The prisoner can walk, but would find it extremely difficult to run. Clearly this restraint can only be used on an escorted prisoner, an unsupervised one would soon be able to remove it. In this respect it is something like a grip. There are modern restraints of this type, though rather more like a surgical splint and made of metal.

Dutch Hobble

This next rather gruesome picture was posed on the replica gallows at the Galleries of Justice. It shows the restraints that were sometimes used in the U.S.A. for the execution by hanging of condemned persons. A 2” wide belt is fitted with wrist straps to secure the arms and a 1.5” wide strap secures the ankles. It is usual in the U.S.A. for the prisoner to be hooded with a black hood, in Britain a white hood was used. From the time of being strapped to the actual drop took quite a while in American practice, so it is not surprising that prisoners were often on the point of collapse. The collapse board then was used, which, James tells me, makes it hard to keel over! In Britain, the method perfected by Albert Pierrepoint meant that from the moment he started to strap the wrist restraints on the condemned person to the time he pulled the drop lever usually took about fifteen seconds, so the prisoner seldom had time to worry about what was happening to the point of collapse!

US Gallows Kit

 Finally a group of early restraints. First a set of “slave irons”. These use a “puzzle” lock on one ankle, an ancient system that secures a shackle by threading the chain linkage through a loop. The other shackle uses a spring wedge lock. This type of restraint has been around for at least two thousand years. Second is a set of “bilboes”. These are probably of medieval origin and were usually fastened with a hammered ring or rivet. Lastly, a replica of a late medieval Swiss “bagno” type handcuff.

Slave Irons


Swiss Bilboes