Published 17th April 2023

Settlement achieved in road traffic stop handcuffing case

The City of London Police have paid £7,500 in damages for assault to our client SA. SA, who is of Iranian heritage, was driving through the City of London in early 2020 when he was stopped under the Road Traffic Act. Despite SA being compliant with the stop, he was handcuffed within two minutes of stopping his vehicle. He remained in handcuffs at the roadside for almost 20 minutes while officers inspected his vehicle. During this time he was also threatened with PAVA spray.

In response to SA’s formal complaint, a police Use of Force expert described the use of handcuffs as ‘premature’ and noted that there was ‘little communication by the officers’ before they were used. This incident reflects ongoing concerns around the routine use of handcuffs by the police, as highlighted by the IOPC in their National Stop and Search learning report of April 2022 (available here). Statistics published by City of London Police for the relevant period (available here) show that handcuffs were the first ‘tactic’ used by officers in 24% of incidents.

SA was represented by Joanna Khan.

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