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Principles of Control and Restraint
Part 2

Editor’s note: This two part article is excerpted from Strategic Air Command Manual 125-2, Air Police Control and Restraint Techniques, SAC Headquarters, September 1958

General Methods
a. Once a person has been apprehended or subdued, the air policeman must "take him in" in order to complete the arrest. If he is drunk, unruly, or potentially dangerous, he must be kept helpless. Applying proper restraint or come-along makes the prisoner amenable to movement or to other actions by the air policeman. A come-along or other type of restraint is often used in preparation for handcuffing or additional mechanical means of control.

b. No come-along or restraint applied without mechanical means has been developed that can be maintained successfully over a long period of time against a prisoner who is in full possession of his faculties and who is determined to break it. It is true that some escapes from come-alongs may be made at the expense of broken bones or painful dislocations. If the adversary is desperate enough, this will not deter him. If the come-along or restraint must be maintained over considerable distance, or for a considerable length of time, it is advisable to apply handcuffs or other mechanical means or keep the prisoner under definite control through continuous use of leverage or follow-up extreme methods if necessary.

c. Control or restraint techniques in this guide are based on the following approaches:

1. Psychological approach. This may consist of reasoning with the individual. All too often an antagonistic approach merely aggravates the situation and leads to the use of force which might otherwise have been prevented. Application of common sense, a courteous but firm manner, and basic leadership principles are essential to the initial approach to any situation. The position of interrogation [relaxed posture with weight evenly distributed, officer angled in front of violator’s right shoulder, close enough to easily close gap, far enough to observe entire body] is the basic position for all maneuvers. From this position, the interrogator is so situated as to apply any of the come-along and/or restraint holds.

2. Physical approach. When all psychological approaches to handling individuals have been exhausted and it becomes necessary to resort to the use of force, restraining techniques should be applied in the manner that best suits the situation.

a) Mild application. This consists of utilizing a light grasp of the individual’s sleeve with the hand and guiding him in the direction desired. From this position, the air policeman will be prepared to prevent or control any increased resistance initiated by the individual.


b) Medium application. This consists of progression from mild application to more vigorous techniques when the individual is strong and aggressive. The degree of control to be applied falls short of full application of severe leverage or other maximum force.

c) Advanced application. This consists of throws, chokes, or application of severe leverage when the individual is uncontrollable. It is applied when it is necessary to immediately terminate any situation which may involve a struggle. It is used in extreme cases when the individual is dangerous and when self-defense is an absolute necessity.

d) In applying restraint or come-along methods, initial control of the adversary is effected by grasping his clothing with concentration directed toward use of resistance or use of extension or flexed arm movement. For example, if the adversary’s arm is in the extended position, leverage should be applied to his elbow.

e) If resistance is offered to this application, and the adversary’s arm or wrist is in a flexed position, leverage would be logically applied to either the wrist or shoulder.

Additional principles for the air policeman to apply toward successful adaptation to emergency problem situations:

a. Display confidence and an objective attitude.

b. Remain alert and unbiased; examine, judge, and then act firmly and decisively.

c. Maintain a conciliatory, unexcited manner with a quiet, steady, yet authoritative voice.

d. Do nothing to precipitate the need for force; permit anger to decrease and exhaust itself if possible. Keep the incident from progressing beyond the talking stage, if possible, thereby providing an opportunity for speech to create an outlet for tensions.

e. Always use the proper way in approaching a recalcitrant individual.

f. Maintain safe offensive or defensive positions.

g. Maintain solid, balanced positions and concentrate upon breaking adversary’s balance.

h. Prevent adversary from using weapons for attack and protect your own weapons.

i. Be wary, prepared, and composed so as to be able to meet any situation; avoid being lured into a dangerous position.

j. Use an aggressive approach to situations needing aggressive action. Avoid indecision and follow through with any action decided upon.

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