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When a per­son is hand­cuffed by the po­lice, what de­ter­mines whether the in­di­vid­ual’s hands are cuffed in front or in back?

—Philip Sch­wim­mer, Chicago, Ill.

It de­pends on the par­tic­u­lar po­lice depart­ment’s pol­icy and the ar­restin of­fi­cer’s judge­ment When the cuffs are in front, it’s much eas­ier for a sub­ject to as­sault of of­fi­cers or by­standers, es­cape from the cuffs via var­i­ous ma­neu­vers or means (like a hid­den uni­ver­sal hand­cuff key) or even get away en­tirely while still wear­ing the cuffs o in the in­ter­est of pub­lic safety and hold­ing on to the in­di­vid­ual, of­fi­cers want to hand­cuff most able-bod­ied peo­ple in back, as­sum­ing this will cause them no hard­ship

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