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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Damages for handcuff injury officer
court graphic
The case was heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh
A police officer who was hurt by handcuffs on a safety training course has been awarded damages of 108,137.

Former constable John Franklin sued Grampian Police for compensation for physical injury and subsequent depression in an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

He was injured while acting the role of a prisoner as officers were trained in techniques to use new rigid-type handcuffs being issued to the force.

In a ruling, Lord McEwan said that the Grampian force was in breach of its duties and that its failures led to his injuries.

I find it proved that extreme pain was caused frequently and often to the trainees, including him, and there was no properly defined signal taught them to stop it

Lord McEwan
He said: "I find it proved that extreme pain was caused frequently and often to the trainees, including him, and there was no properly defined signal taught them to stop it.

"I also hold that the trainers would only react if a complaint was made and had no system for inspecting wrists," said the judge.

Mr Franklin, 54, of Birnie, Elgin, in Moray, said that during the training exercise the techniques used on him as a prisoner caused him extreme pain and left red weals and bruises in his wrists.

He described "guys on the floor screaming" and said there had been no clear rule on the course on how to tell your partner to stop inflicting pain.

Dragged along

During the course held at RAF Lossiemouth in May 1996, officers were paired off and took on role-playing as the arresting officer and a criminal resisting arrest.

The "prisoner" was pulled to the ground, dragged along and had his arm levered and rotated behind his back.

Mr Franklin alleged, in his action against Grampian Chief Constable Andrew Brown, that the force had a duty to provide protective equipment for the wrists of trainees, take steps to prevent twisting of wrists and to give an appropriate safety briefing.

Lord McEwan said that the risk of injury, known as handcuff neuropathy, ought to have been well appreciated by competent instructors in 1996.

Nerve trauma

Mr Franklin maintained that physical injury suffered by him on the course caused depression.

He said that pain, cramp and swelling began on the course and his right hand gave him problems with writing, gardening and work.

He was diagnosed as suffering nerve trauma to the right wrist and retired from the police in 1999 due to ill health, after 23 years service.

Lord McEwan said he was satisfied that Mr Franklin sustained physical injury on the course and that it amounted to much more than minor discomfort.

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