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Can I be placed in handcuffs, if I am not under arrest ? ?
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Can I be placed in handcuffs, if I am not under arrest ? ?

I was recently stopped and searched on two consecutive nights by the police, on the latter of the two occasions, I was placed in handcuffs, whilst the police searched my car, under the misuse of drugs act, I would like to add I am totally innocent of anything, and as soon as they found out I was searched the night before they removed the handcuffs, however the Sergeant had a personality, that gives the Police a bad name, were there actions legal ? I was not shouting, I do not have any history of violence, and was wearing flip flops, so no chance of me running away ?
Additional Details
I would like to further add that I am 145 pounds and was alone, there were 3 police cars and about 6 police officers, and one of the cars was armed response, I offered very little threat :/ even if I wanted


They can't cuff you unless they are arresting you because you have the right to refuse the search but if you did that they would get suspicious and arrest you anyway.

For example, an officer says "Would you accompany me to the station"
You are allowed to say No, but they may then arrest you, in which case, you have to go.

Juan R
Yes they can, they are cops and pretty much operate under their own set of rules.

Dont you just luv how they always say 'Im placing u in handcuffs for YOUR safety'.....especially when u WAS safe till they arrived. Unfortunately they can but for the life of me i'd luv to put them in cuffs for MY safety.

Technically if you are placed in handcuffs by the police, you are under arrest. You were deprived of your liberty to move as you please (albeit temporarily) and therefore you were under arrest.

It does not matter that you were not violent, it is typical procedure to restrain someone while the police search a vehicle.

The police can detain you for a search under the misuse of drugs act and no you cant refuse.I have never heard of anyone being handcuffed during a drugs search in 30 years police service in the UK.If what you say is true I would be inclined to make an official complaint against police.

Whisky Solves Everything
The policeman has a kinky fetish.

dude thats harassment make a complaint

Darren, Only listen to the police some of your responses are incorrect. The police can handcuff you for their own safety, and as far as the search is concerned you may refuse the search we DO NOT arrests those who refuse the search. keep in mind if you have nothin too hide what does it hurt?

They have to be able to justify the use of handcuffs.

This is from the official police guidance.

2.1 Use of Handcuffs

2.1.2 Any intentional application of force to the person of another is an assault. The use of handcuffs amounts to such an assault and is unlawful unless it can be justified. Justification is achieved through establishing not only a legal right to use handcuffs, but also good objective grounds for doing so in order to show that what the officer or member of police staff did was a reasonable, necessary and proportionate use of force.

just because you are placed in cuffs does not mean you are arrested.. it just means hey are detaining you.... who knows, there could have been a robbery a block away, and your vehicle and your person descriptions could have matched the suspect description...so they handcuffed you to make sure you didn't harm them.. etc.. and that could be a reason for there being so many cops on the scene.

were you handcuffed before the backup officers arrived? that could be a factor to.

it's all for safety...

andy w
Yes they can.
They would handcuff you whilst they search because otherwise there is a risk that you could run away or possibly reach for a weapon or assault the police.

Different police have different ways of doing things some of them go over the top unnecessarily but not a lot you can do about it really except complain to their superiors.

You There
Section 117 PACE allows for use of reasonable force to execute powers conferred for searching. Although not often, handcuffing does get used sometimes to stop any escalation before it happens, and this can also be applied to S23 Misuse of Drugs act searches.

A detention for search is an arrest in a technical sense, as you are not at liberty to leave. But you must have been given a search record explaining the reason for the search.

I'd think the ARV would have been there by coincidence rather than by direction; they do perform normal duties too you know!

Were all these Officers here for you, or just generally around the area ? If all there for you alone, then I think there may be a little more to this tale than you've told, considering you've been searched twice in as many days.

a mom
Yep, they can handcuff you until they know you are not a threat. Even the nicest looking, most polite people can be a criminal. I have a hard time believing though you did not give them some reason to search you on two consecutive nights. Maybe you should rethink where you are or who you're hanging out with. Anyhow, they can Absolutely handcuff you for their protection.

For those of you who are so negative against the police....do the police a favor, the next time you are in danger, don't call them. Why would they want to put their life in danger for scum like you?

Yes they can especially when dealing with drugs , because druggies are so unpredictable and sometimes violent .

El Scott
People can be handcuffed without being arrested. It is possible to constructively arrest someone even if you did not actually press charges on them. That usually requires the Officer to remove you from the place you currently are against your will though. Simply handcuffing someone is usually done for safety reasons. When I handcuff someone but have not arrested them I usually tell them they are not currently charged with anything and will usually tell them that I will take them off once I determine they are free to go or that they are not a threat (depending on the situation). I usually cuff someone when I think they might have weapons on them.

Yeah, they can. And for you people who think that is so horrible, remember that quite often it is a person who seemed so innocent and harmless that caught an officer off guard and took his or her life. It happens, and it that means its safer for them to cuff you for a few minutes, so be it.

They do a dangerous job, and until you are willing to put your life at risk, then don't question their tactics.

Patrick G
Policemen will handcuff you for their protection. It has nothing to do with being arrested.

In fact you can be arrested and never cuffed.

Yes, the police can do that.


Ian UK
In short, 'yes'.

The use handcuffs by a Police Officer is covered in section 117 of the Police and criminal evidence act, the legislation that covers the use of force by a Police Officer.

This legislation applies only to Police Officers in the course of their lawful duty.

If an officer feels that its necessary to place handcuffs onto someone in order to search them then this would be seen as a lawful use of force.

Its up to the individual officer to justify their actions and use of force but I would suggest that the use of handcuffs was to prevent the disposal of evidence, i.e. any drugs that they thought you may have been carrying.

I see from your additions to your question that you were, as you put it, innocent on both occasions that you were stop searched and that, again as you put it, the officers were wrong. This goes to show that we are only human and can make mistakes. Another indication of this is that on 2 separate occasions you had 2 different encounters with the Police. One where you were happy with the way you were treated, the other where you weren't.

I have sometimes upset people unintentionally by my actions but have carried out the same actions on another occasion with another person and there have been no problems. We are all different.

The stop search legislation often causes controversy but it’s also a very useful tool in the prevention of crime.

E.g. If a person with the tools to commit crime is stop searched and arrested before they commit that crime then the legislation has done its job.

I always say that it’s better to be stop searched than arrested, as this is the whole idea behind the legislation. It prevents unnecessary arrests.

It doesn't always make people happy but is another tool in the fight against crime. I hope you can understand this.

clayton bailey
i think you cant be handcuffed if you are not under arrest

Helen McBride
I was over a friend's house. The police banged on the door and identified themselves as officers. I did not open the door, but was talking to them through a closed door. They asked if I would open the door, which i eventually did. Then they asked if I would come out onto the porch. I asked why should I come out of the house, when I can talk to you in the doorway? They did not give me an answer. Nevertheless, I did step onto the porch. When, I did the male officer told a female officer to get me off of the porch. She applied so much pressure to my upper arms, shoulders and bent both hands downward. She bruised me, hurt my shoulders, arms and hands then put handcuffs on me. Took me across the street and pushed me down. I was not charged with any crime, they unlawfully violated my civil rights, there was no reason for them to touch me; I was compliant. What is the handcuff law for Los Angeles? When can they use handcuffs? Is there a law enforcement guideline book that i can refer to?

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