Cumbria security staff handcuff suspects waiting for police

Man wearing handcuffs Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Security guards and door staff have no greater powers of arrest than ordinary members of the public

A private security firm says it has started using handcuffs on violent suspects because of an increase in police response times.

LRM Security in Kendal, Cumbria, said assaults on its staff had also increased over the past year.

Director Lyndon Montgomery said handcuffs were safer than restraining people "for long periods of time while we wait for the police to arrive".

Cumbria Police said their use was not something it "encouraged".

The firm, which has staff at hotels and bars in the Lake District, said the average police response time had doubled to about 20 minutes since Windermere and Ulverston Police stations closed.

Supt Matt Pearman said: "We respond to incidents as quickly as we can."

'Only safe method'

LRM Security used "conflict management and physical intervention" first, according to Mr Montgomery.

"When that fails obviously we'll phone the police to come and assist us or arrest anyone," he said.

"We decided that handcuffing people was the only method that put our staff in a safe place."

It was also safer for the person being detained, he said.

The firm's trial of handcuffs had been "very successful" and a "good deterrent", he added.

Cumbria Police confirmed their use by security staff was legal.

But using them meant "that then becomes their use of force that they have to justify on each occasion", Supt Pearman said.

Figures published in March 2018 showed Cumbria Police had 1,095 officers for a population of 498,400, down from 1,238 in 2010.

Security staff have only the same power to make a citizen's arrest as any other member of the public and may only use "reasonable" force.

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