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8. Police Holds in relaion to Self Defence.

Self Defence

 In Relation to Police holds

Ex- Civil and Military Police Instructor.




NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD   (Non Violent Prisoner)


HAMMER-LOCK& BAR   (Counter holds)
























This handbook is designed to assist the police officer in understanding the basic principles of self-defence in relation to Police Holds.

Whilst appreciating that the majority of persons apprehended come quietly, nonetheless prevention is better than cure. This handbook will give the police officer a technical knowledge, which, together with practice, should enable him to take effective control of any violent situation.

The average member of the public has a high respect for the British Police Service. A police Officer identifies himself with that service with his uniform. The co-operation he receives is basically the respect for that uniform.

The high reputation, which is enjoyed by our modern Police Service, is based upon a unique relationship between them and the public. This relationship has been built up over the years by the tactful and courteous way members of the service have carried out their duties.

A potentially violent situation dealt with tactfully, courteously and firmly often brings about a more stable condition.

Right& Left Sides Practice







Notes: -

 ‘HEEL OF HAND’         =      The hard surfaced area of the hand where the hand joins the wrist.

‘CUTTING EDGE’          =       The comparatively hard surface side area of the hand, from the small finger to the wrist.

‘BUTCHERS GRIP’        =       Used when it is necessary for both hands to be joined. Fingers of both hands are ‘Hooked’. The two ‘hooks’ joined together and held tight. A solid strong grip which can be quickly released. Do not entwine the fingers.

‘RIDE A BLOW’           =       Used when a kick, weapon attack or punch is directed at your person. This means to move your body away from the direction of the blow. Even if the blow lands it will have a lesser effect than not ‘riding a blow’

Normal-Police-Hold   (Non Violent Prisoner) 

To adopt hold on right arm of prisoner: By stages.

1.                              Grasp the right wrist of your prisoner with your right hand.

2.                              Place your left hand (index finger and thumb opened to form a ‘V’) on the prisoner’s arm immediately above the elbow joint and to the outside.

3.                              The prisoner’s wrist can be palm outwards or inwards.

4.                              Hold the prisoners arm across your body, fairly close and at a height where he cannot suddenly grasp your private parts.

5.                              In the event of the prisoner becoming stubborn, pressure can be exerted against the prisoners elbow joint by pulling back with the wrist hold and pressing forward with the arm hold.

6.                              Whilst walking with a prisoner using this hold one should break step with him, thus making it more difficult for him to trip you, should he attempt this by placing his inside foot between yours as you walk along.

7.                              If the prisoner resists moving forward striking him in the back with your right shoulder or with the flat of you elbow can help him along.

8.                              If the prisoner digs his heels in and refuses to move, place your left hand under the prisoners crutch, grip and forcibly lift. The prisoner will be forced on to his toes and have to move forward or fall flat on his front.

9.                              Whilst walking with a prisoner you should always walk on the outside of the pavement. The prisoner should be between you and any building or wall. The reasons for this

A.      If the prisoner attempts to escape, you can maker use of being on the outside by pushing him into the building or wall, at the same time countering the prisoner’s action

B.       If the prisoner has any friends waiting in any doorway or alley, being on     the outside, you are less susceptible to attack

C.              The police officer should always remember that a non-violent prisoner could turn violent without warning.

D.     It will become appreciated that from the NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD your prisoner can attempt to escape in a number of ways. He can pull away from you to the front, to the side or to the rear. He can make an attempt with his arm bent or straight. His elbow can be bent upward or downward- or any combination of the above. In all cases you should move with your prisoner and counter his action with a more complex hold as described later


HAMMER-LOCK & BAR  (Violent prisoner)

If the prisoner attempts to escape from the NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD with his arm bent, elbow upwards.

Your counter can be: -

1.                              Keep hold of his right wrist with your right hand and take your left hand from his upper arm and, with the heel of that hand strike the prisoner’s elbow just above the joint.

2.                              Pull the prisoners right wrist until it fits into the crook of your left elbow joint.

3.                              Grasp your prisoner’s upper arm with your left hand (thumb and fingers together.)

4.                              Pull his arm

5.                              With your right hand pull the prisoner to you by: -

   Either       gripping his shoulder joint

   Or          Grip his hair (If long enough) and pull his head back

   Or           gripping his chin and levering it upwards and away or (towards) you.

6.                              Do not allow the prisoner to lean forward as this may assist his attempt to escape, keep him upright.

7.                              By levering upwards with you left upper arm, the prisoner will: -

A.           Feel more pain.

B.           Be forced onto his toes

C.           Be kept unbalanced.

These actions will make it less likely that you prisoner will attempt to counter your hold


HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR   (from the side or front)

If an officer decides, for whatever reason, to arrest a prisoner known to be violent and is approaching him from the front or side, he may decide to affect the arrest by placing that person in a HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR, executed from the side or from the front of the person.

From the Side

1.                              If you approach the offenders left side, grasp, with your left hand, his left arm at the elbow joint, and lift

2.                              With the edge of your right hand (fingers extended and palm towards the floor) cut across his left wrist and force it backwards.

3.                              Loop your right hand under his left arm and complete the HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR as described previously.

From the Front

The officer may decide to practice this hold whist his partner has his hands on his hips; otherwise the hold from the front is similar to the one from the side.

The difference between the hold from the front to that of the side is that you reach across with our left hand.

1.                              If the offender is standing with his hands on his hips you should (as always) approach with caution. (See below)  Deciding which arm to wo9rk on- here described is the procedure is his left arm.

2.                              With your left hand reach across and grasp his left arm, just above the elbow joint, and pull.

3.                              The pulling action in stage (2) will turn the offenders side towards you.

4.                              Complete the hold as in stages (2) and (3) above for the HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR from the side.

Always approach a suspect with extreme caution. He/She may produce a weapon, these stages are covered later. He may attempt to kick you and usually his target area is your tender parts between your legs. In this case rotate the body from the ankles, turning side on to your assailant, covering your vital middle parts with your hands, ‘ride’ the blow. You may still sustain the kick but rather it to your side than to your middle.


HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR   (Counter holds)

            The prisoner reaches up with his free hand, grasps his own locked hand and levers down in an attempt to break the officers hold by force.

A.                             If the prisoner attempts the above counter it can be re-countered by placing your inside leg across the prisoners path and levering him over you extended leg.

B.                             The prisoner’s natural reaction is to release his free hand and place it in front of himself in an attempt to break his frontal fall.

C.                             Once his counter action has been re-countered by you, force him back to his feet and re-assume the HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR. Hold the LOCK more tightly this next time.

The prisoner attempts to escape by bending forward, straightening his held arm and inward towards the officer.

 A.            This can be countered by striking hard, his arm, just below the elbow joint with the ‘heel’ of your outside hand. This action will enable you to apply more pressure and thus regain the correct hold.

 B.              By forcing your prisoner in a forward movement, pivoting on your outside foot and dropping to the ground, the prisoner can be propelled to the ground face down

           An officer attempts a HAMMER-LOCK AND BAR the prisoner in the early stages of the hold, takes his free hand across his body and hooks his held hand, causing the officer’s inside arm to be held and the officer to fall backwards.

A.                             In the early stages of the hold the prisoner may attempt the above action. Your re-counter would be to take your free hand over the top of his neck.

B.                             Throw your prisoner clockwise to the ground by forcing your held forearm outwards and pulling the neck hold arm inwards

C.                             If the above e stages are completed correctly, your ensuing ground position will be on top of your prisoner, with him on his back.  A GROUND-RESTRAINING-HOLD  (later described) can then be executed.


Prisoner attempts to escape from the NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD with his arm straight. : -

1.                              You should move with your prisoner in his direction.

2.                              Turn your prisoners wrist until it is palm uppermost, swiveling your right hand wrist grip if necessary.

3.                              Take your left hand from his elbow and transfer it over the top of the prisoner’s upper arm.

4.                              Loop your left arm over his arm, and then under his arm until you can reach your own forearm. Then, with your left hand, grasp hold of your own clothing as high up as possible.

5.                              Make sure your own left forearm is above your prisoners elbow joint, or he will be able to bend his arm.

6.                              Apply downward pressure with your right hand grip, levering his straight arm over your own left forearm, which is acting as a fulcrum.

7.                              Your right arm should be as straight as possible. This will enable you to exert more leverage.



            Officer attempts a STRAIGHT-ARM-LOCK but the prisoner resists by, with force, bending his arm, elbow down.

1.                              If your prisoner attempts the above counter in the early stages of the hold, immediately re-counter with a FIGURE-FOUR-WRIST-LOCK (Later described)


1.                              If your inside (left) hand has traveled all the way over his extended arm before he begins to bend it, take hold of your own clothing with your left hand.

2.                              Force his wrist in a downward and outward sweep.

3.                              Bend forward and kick your inside (Left) leg straight out.

4.                              At the same time as stage 3 and with your body weight well forward sit forcibly down in a forward movement.

5.                              Your final position should be a GROUND-RESTRAINING-HOLD. (Later described)



Your Prisoner attempts an escape from The NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD with his arm bent, elbow down.

1.                              Move in the same direction as your prisoner. With your left hand, grasp his elbow, pull and secure it to your body.

2.                              If necessary, with you’re your right hand grip, (without letting go) swivel your wrist-grip in a clockwise direction until your thumb is on the inside of his wrist.

3.                              Spread your fingers over the back of his hand, with your middle fingers over his knuckles. Leave your thumb on the inside of his wrist.

4.                              Lever his wrist with the joint, using your fingers as the force and your thumb as the fulcrum.

5.                              Take your left arm under his upper arm and place it on top of his wrist, left hand thumb on top.

6.                              Keep his arm bent. By trapping it with your elbows.

Prisoner attempts to stop the officer from securing a WRIST-LOCK by tensing and clenching his fist:-

The above action can be countered in either of the following ways.

A.           Drive your inside hand knuckles into the flashy part at the back of his wrist. This sudden action should cause him to unclench his fist. Re-apply your WRIST-LOCK

Or :-

B.           Take your inside arm underneath his upper arm and across his forearm and grasp your own forearm. The combined strength of your two arms acting on his one should cause him to open his fist. Re-apply your WRIST-LOCK

If the officer, having secured a WRIST-LOCK, does not keep his prisoners forearm close to his body, the prisoner may counter by pushing his foist forward and at the same timer raising his elbow.

A.           To counter this action, pull his wrist downwards allowing him to raise his elbow.

        B.       Once the elbow is raised, with the heel of you’re inside hand strike his arm, just above the elbow joint, and complete a HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR.


On completion of the DOUBLE-WRIST-LOCK both of your hands are in use. A DOUBLE-WRIST-LOCK can be changed into a SINGLE-WRIST-LOCK (described below) in which only a single hand is used to secure your prisoner. The other hand left free to use a telephone or personal radio. Etc.

            The officer, having secured his prisoner in a DOUBLE-WRIST-LOCK decides to change it into a SINGLE-WRIST-LOCK :-

1.                              Take your inside arm further over the back of his hand.

2.                              Slowly release pressure with your outside hand, but maintain constant pressure with your inside hand.

3.                              Leave your outside thumb, which is acting as a fulcrum, on the inside of his wrist taking it away only when the SINGLE-WRIST-LOCK is complete.

4.                              Wrap the fingers and thumb of your inside hand and grasp the underside of his palm. 

5.                              Do not allow the prisoners arm to move away from your body. Maintain constant pressure on his wrist at all stages.

6.                              Release your outside thumb from the inside of his wrist.

7.                              With your free right push his elbow well into your inner side.

The hold can be made more effective if you lever downwards with the heel of your hand and upwards with you fingers, causing his wrist to be levered with the wrist joint and the metacarpal bones of his palm moving in opposite directions.



            Your prisoner attempts to escape from the NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD with his arm bent, elbow down; or counters officers STRAIGHT-ARM-LOCK attempt by bending his arm.

1.                              Move with your prisoner and with your right hand grip, (without letting go) swivel your wrist anti-clockwise until your thumb is on the inside of his wrist.

2.                              Release your left hand grip and transfer it over the crook of his arm.

3.                              Turn quickly (a Small jump is best) with your feet to face him side on.

4.                              Grasp hold of your own forearm

5.                              Spread your fingers over the back of his hand with your middle finger over his palm knuckles, leaving your thumb on the inside of his wrist.

6.                              With your fingers, lever his wrist with the joint, using your thumb as a fulcrum.

7.                              Stepping back, and with this pressure, bear him down to the ground.

8.                              Do not attempt to turn the prisoners forearm in any other direction except downward.

9.                              Trap his forearm between the inside of your knees.

10.                          Once the prisoner is grounded a DOUBLE or SINGLE-WRIST-LOCK can be applied.



Prisoner attempts his escape from the NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD with his arm bent, elbow backwards.

1.                              Take your left hand from your prisoners elbow and with the cutting edge of it strike the inside of his elbow. On contact with your left hand place it over his bicep, fingers to the back.

2.                              If necessary twist your right hand wrist grip until your thumb is on the inside of his wrist.

3.                              By levering downwards with your left hand, upwards with your left forearm and pushing the prisoner away from you with your right hand wrist grip your can bear him down to the ground, sideways.

4.                              By taking your left hand from the crook of his elbow, placing it under his upper arm and putting it on top of his wrist a DOUBLE or SINGLE-WRIST-LOCK can be applied.



            If an officer is gripped around his wrist or wrists there are a number of ways in which he can release himself. The type of release used, being dependent on the way in which the officer is gripped. I.e. –One hand around one wrist, (right or left)  - Two hands around two wrists – Two hands around one wrist. (Left or right)

            The attacker may have an above grasp (Position of his thumbs) or a below grasp.

            In every case the release is made against the attackers thumbs – the weakest part of the grip.

Wrist to wrist

            If the thumbs of your attacker are uppermost, grasp your hands forcibly and quickly together, lever sharply downwards and outwards.

            Both releases are made by breaking his grip around his thumbs.

Two Hands around one wrist

If the thumbs of your attacker are uppermost, take your free hand over and between his arms. Grasp your own hand and by levering upward and backward and simultaneously bending your elbow towards the center of his body, a release can be affected.

            If the thumbs are downwards, take your free hand under and between his. Grasp your hand and lever both hands downward.

            It will become apparent to the officer that all the past WRIST-RELEASES breaks contact completely with the offender.

            The following releases maintain contact and also give the officer an opportunity to counter with a more complex hold.

Wrist to wrist     (Double grip)

1.                              Although your attacker, by gripping your wrists, can restrict the upward and downward movement of your arms, (Try it to confirm) he cannot stop you from moving your arms horizontally, inwards and outwards. Therefore move your right hand horizontally inwards and grasp his right wrist.

2.                              Break his right hand grip of your left wrist by levering your elbow towards the center of his body. (Levering against his thumbs)

3.                              At this stage he is still gripping your right wrist with his left hand and you are gripping his right wrist with your right hand.

4.                              Your left hand is free. Extend your left fingers; thumb tucked in and with the heel of the hand strike his left wrist to release his remaining grip.

5.                              You are now gripping his right wrist with your right hand. By pulling his arm and looping your left arm over the top of his right arm, a STRAIGHT-ARM-LOCK or a FIGURE-FOUR-WRIST-LOCK can be applied.

Wrist to wrist     (Single grip)

1.                              If your attacker grips your left wrist with his right hand and your right hand is free, grab hold of his right wrist with your free hand.

2.                              Break his grip of your left wrist by levering your elbow across the center of his body. (Levering against the thumb)

3.                              By pulling his arm and looping your left arm over the top of his right arm, a STRAIGHT-ARM-LOCK can be applied.

Wrist to wrist     (Single grip)

                  Right to right or left-to-left.

1.                              If your attacker grips your right wrist with his right hand, place your left hand over the top of his right hand, securing it to your own wrist- thus preventing him from letting go.

2.                              Push your right hand through his grip so the he is gripping your wrist further down your forearm.

3.                              Extend your right fingers and rotate them in a clockwise direction.

4.                              Place your right fingers on top of his forearm and bring pressure to bear his forearm down.

5.                              This action will bring your attacker to his knees. You can then advantageously placed to affect a more complex hold.



An assailant is liable to attempt to strangle an officer in one or a combination of the following ways.

From the rear;              i.            Two hands bent or straight.

                                    ii.            One forearm across the officer’s throat.

From the front.            iii.            Close up to the officer with bent arms.

iv.      With  straight arms.

STRANGLEHOLD i. From the rear

The officer, upon realizing which type of strangle hold is being used, should counter as below.

1.                              Grasp hold of your assailant’s arm, or clothing as high up as possible.

2.                              Squat down onto one knee, so that your center of gravity is lower than your attacker.   

3.                              Pull and throw your assailant over your shoulder, to the side at which you are bending.

4.                              Follow up, immediately, with a more complex hold. E.g. GROUND-RESTRAINING HOLD described later.

STRANGLEHOLD ii. From the rear

1.                              If your assailants right forearm

2.                              Stage one should surprise him

3.                              Place your right arm around your assailant’s waist.

4.                              With your left arm take hold of his right arm or sleeve.

5.                              Lever and throw your attacker over your side.

6.                              Follow up your action with a more complex hold.

STRANGLEHOLD iii. From the front

1.                              Grasp your assailant around his waist with your left arm

2.                              Place the heel of your right hand under the attackers nose.

3.                              Force his head away from you.

4.                              Follow up your actions.

STRANGLEHOLD iv. From the front

            There are a number of ways in which this release can be affected. It is best to practice all of them.

1.                              Turn sideways on to your attacker. With the flat of your hand, strike him squarely and with force to the middle of his breastbone


2.                              Place your hands together (Closed grip) and strike in an upward direction between the arms of your assailant. Your bony forearms should make contact with his fleshy under forearms.

Or: -

3.                              With the heels of your hand strike your assailants elbow joints against the joint.

The afore mentioned releases all break contact with your assailant; therefore in every case the officer should take the initiative and attempt a more complex hold.

      The forth and following release breaks the stranglehold but maintains contact.


         A.      Take your right hand over your assailants forearm and grasp his right palm.

b.            Make sure your palm is over the back of his hand.

c.             With your left hand, thumb and fingers in a ‘V’ formation grip his arm underneath, just above the elbow joint.

d.            Force his straight arm upward and over in a clockwise direction; at the same time pull his arm across the front of your body, turning your left hip into his side. 

e.             Throw your own and your attackers weight forward and sit down with your inside (Left) leg straight. The right leg is bent at this stage.

f.              If Stage (b) is correctly executed and held it can be turned into a SINGLE-HAND-WRIST-LOCK  (See wrist lock notes)

g.             By pressing down with your left hand just above the elbow joint and lifting up with your right hand wrist lever you can effect a STRAIGHT-ARM-LEVER as for a GROUND-RESTRAINING-HOLD  (described later)

h.             A HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR can then be placed on your prisoner whilst he is grounded. Your prisoner can then be forced into a standing position and conveyed to the place of his confinement.



   If an officer is attacked by an assailant who is armed with a knife or a weapon (club etc), it is most important that he is at all times well balanced on his feet; ready to move to either side, forward or backward.

The officer may decide to draw his truncheon and attempt to parry off an attack, which is likely to be the best initiative if the officer is not fast enough or unsure of the methods of disarming.

The attacker may have the knife / weapon in an upward or downward position; in a right or left hand grip.

The stages for disarming assume the weapon is in the right hand.

The aggressor holding a knife blade may waive it about from side to side or up and down before making a definite attempt to stab the officer. Other than quick footwork, very little police holds action on the officer’s part can be achieved at this stage.


   When an attacker decides to make an attempt to drive the blade at the officer, and providing the blade is point upwards it will be a determined usually aimed at or about the stomach. 

            This definite attempt may be the first lunge or he may make numerous sweeps before making this upward blow.

The officer can only wait; using evasive techniques, until he is ready and confident that the blade thrust is the one that he can handle. He can then attempt the following action.

1.                              Note in which hand the knife is held. (Described below is the right hand)

2.                              As the thrust is being delivered, cross your forearms, right arm on top. Stop the blow by placing them in a position that his right forearm strikes your crossed forearms.

3.                              Stand evenly balanced with your stomach held well back and your upper body weight slightly forward.

4.                              When the blow has been blocked, move your right hand up to his right arm and grip his elbow.

5.                              Pull his arm with your right hand grip and push his right wrist away from you with your left hand. (Heel of the left hand, palm towards the floor)

6.                              From this position a HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR can be applied.

7.                              If your attacker is moving forward at the time of the thrust, by turning and stepping back with your right foot and pulling hard with your right hand grip, his forward momentum can be used and he can be grounded face down – with you in a kneeling position and him in a HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR.

8.                              By levering hard upwards with the BAR of the HAMMER-LOCK he will be forced to release his weapon.


An attacker with a knife, blade pointing downwards, or a cudgel, blade uppermost, will almost certainly aim for the area around the heads and shoulders. He will usually be advancing forward and the blow will come in a downward direction.

The defense to be adopted can be: -

1.                              Note in which hand is holding the weapon. (Described below is the right hand) Place the feet slightly wide apart, knees bent, with one foot forward. Well-balanced and ready to move in any direction.

2.                              Move the body weight slightly over to your left, looking up towards the weapon.

3.                              Stop the blow by placing your right forearm (fingers extended, palm towards the ground.) in the path of the downward blow, connecting your outside right forearm with his under right forearm 

4.                              Take hold of his upper arm, just above the elbow joint, with your left hand.

5.                              With your right hand, take hold of his wrist and pull him towards you.

6.                              Take a pace back with your right foot by swiveling with your left.

7.                              Turn to face his forward direction and by pushing forward he can be grounded.

8.                              A HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR can be executed, making him release his weapon.

9.                              If your assailant is rushing forward at the time of the downward blow then this momentum should be utilized.



When an officer is faced with a firearm it is imperative that the officer makesno attempt to disarm his attacker unless he is: -

1.      Fully conversant with the disarm techniques.

2.      In a proper position to carry out the countermoves.

3.      Without risk to any other person.

If the above criteria are realised and an officer is faced with a pistol attack from the front or rear, he must endeavor to position himself within striking distance (Arms length) of the weapon.

            Until this distance is achieved the officer should make no undue movement that might disturb the attacker. The gunman may approach the officer and the officer should stand still, noting in which hand the weapon is held. If the gunman is standing still _ depending on the gunman’s demeanor _ the officer may decide to approach him. If at anytime the gunman utters words to the effect “Stand still or I shoot” The officer should immediately comply.

            It is always wise to talk inferior to your aggressor, assure him that he is in charge of the situation. (For at this stage he is!) Try to distract his attention, thus enhancing your chances of a surprise counter move.  If, and only when, the gun hand is within striking distance, and all other criteria have been met then the officers may decided to attempt the following action.

PISTOL ATTACK  (from the front)

1.                              Note which hand is holding the pistol.  (Here described is the right.)

2.                              Place your left hand on his right hand, palm downwards thumb to the back center, of his wrist fingers, on top.

3.                              At the same time as stage 2 place your right hand, thumb alongside your left thumb and fingers underneath, on his gun hand.

4.                              With your two hands as positioned, push the pistol away from your bodyline and to your right. 

5.                              Continue to push the pistol away, changing a sideways sweep to an upward sweep.

6.                              Your little fingers (Right and left) should be positioned at the front of his wrist. (They are to be used as a fulcrum.)

7.                              As his gun reaches the top of the upward sweep, using your thumbs as the force and your little fingers as the fulcrum, lever his wrist with the joint and bear your attackers forearm vertically down.

8.                              With the force as in stage 7 ground your attacker. If you can pull his forearm forward as you step back all to the good.

9.                              Squat down onto your knees and trap your assailants’ elbow between them. At this stage he should be face down.

10.                          Heavy pressure on the attackers wrist between stages 2 and 9 will make him release his hold on the weapon.

11.                          By releasing your right hand grip and placing it under his right upper arm and then on to his wrist a DOUBLE-WRIST-LOCK can be applied.

12.                          You may then decide to change the DOUBLE-WRIST-LOCK to a SINGLE-WRIST-LOCK, placing yourself in a position to recover the fallen weapon with your free hand.

PISTOL ATTACK  (From behind)

Before an officer can protect himself from a pistol attack from behind he must first know which hand his attacker is holding the pistol.

            If an attacker approaches the officer from the front and orders him to turn round the officer should immediately comply, while noting which hand the pistol is being held.

1.                              Assuming that the pistol is in the attackers right hand, suddenly and without any warning, turn your body anti-clockwise by taking a pace to the rear with your left foot. At the same time swing your left forearm around with a cutting action so that it makes contact with your attackers right hand.

2.                              The above sudden turning and cutting action will clear your body from the line of fire.

3.                              With your right hand take it round his neck and close your right shoulder to his left.

4.                              At the same time as stage 3 grasp his right wrist or forearm with your left hand.

5.                              Swing your right straight leg through and to the right side of your attacker.

6.                              The combined stages above will create your forward and his backward momentum, enabling your to ground your attacker.

7.                              The correct ground position you should try to aim for is: -

Your attacker on his back with his right, gun hand, straight and at right angles to his body. You seated, with your right leg straight and our left leg bent to the side at right angles. Your right hand should be around your attackers neck and gripping hold of his clothing. Your left hand holding his tight arm, palm upwards, across your right thigh. Your right hip should be as close as possible to his right armpit. By pulling him in with your right hand and pulling his right arm away with your left hand.

            Your upper body-weight should be well forward.

8.                  If your attacker still has possession of the pistol he can be made to release his hold of it by raising and lowering his arm sharply so that the gun hand makes contact with the ground. Your right thigh is used as a fulcrum for this action.

N.B.      Stage 7 is similar to the later described SITTING-THIGH-AND-WAIST-HOLD The officer may decide to adopt the positions for this hold, or to release his prisoner and take charge of the gun.



If an officer needs to arrest a know violent person and it is impractical to arrest him without the use of force,

Or a person a person who is under the influence of drink or drugs and would thus be oblivious to pain, via the normal holds (HAMMER-LOCK, STRAIGHT-ARM-LOCK, WRIST LOCK, etc.) Then the officer may decide to affect a HEAD CHANCERY-HOLD.

1.                              Approach the person to be arrested cautiously and to his front.

2.                              Decide on which side you will take the initiative, your right or left. At this stage it may be advisable to talk reassuringly to the person, so as to increase your chances of surprise action.

3.                              Having decided which side to attack (here described is your right) and being within arms reach of the person to be arrested, strike his left shoulder with the heel of your right hand. At the same time pull him sideways on to you with your left hand gripping his upper right arm.

4.                              Turn your body anti-clockwise until his back is supported on your back; you are bending forwards and him bending over you backwards.

5.                              As soon as practical during stages (3) and (4) clasp both your hands together in a ‘Butchers Grip’ by following through with your right hand so that your right forearm passes in front of the persons neck.

6.                              Now make sure that the crook of your arm just slightly below his chin and not constricting his throat or Carotid Arteries.

7.                              You can then walk forward in a bent position to the place of his detention.

8.                              If whilst struggling to resist the hold, the prisoner flails his arms about, (as he is likely to do) you may decide to release your ‘Butchers Grip’, loop your left arm around his right arm, (the crook of your left arm and the crook of his right arm) Grasp your own clothing, high up, with both of your hands; You should then be able to walk forward in a more upright position.

9.                              If you attempt, but fail to perform stage (8) then immediately you realise the failure re-grasp both of your hands in the original ‘Butchers Grip’.

N.B           If stage (6) is not correctly achieved and your forearm passes across the prisoner’s throat he may be unable to breathe, or the blood circulation to his head may be stopped.

                The officer should constantly bear this fact in mind and relax the hold at once if the prisoner goes limp.



1.                              If a would be assailant is attempting to kick you with his right foot and you can manage to grab hold of his foot with your right hand, lift it until it is tucked under your right armpit.

2.                              At the same time as stage (1) place your left hand, palm on top, of his knee.

3.                              With your right hand under his right leg take hold of your own left forearm.

4.                              Your assailant is now unbalanced and standing on one leg, keeping the grip intact, by pushing his right leg, you will cause him to fall backwards.

5.                              When your attacker’s back is on the ground, lift him by his leg, until only the back of his shoulders supports him.

6.                              Twist his leg clockwise until the whole of his body is face downwards.

7.                              Step over him with your left foot.

8.                              Move your right foot around ant-clockwise until it by his right side.

9.                              Squat down, making sure the back of his right knee is in contact with the back of your left knee. At this stage your legs are bent at the knee.

10.                          Keep your upper body-weight forward and by taking hold of his right arm, a HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR can be affected.

11.                          When the HAMMER-LOCK has been secured you can release you LEG-LOCK and regain your upstanding position.


If an officer is thrown, or knocked, to the ground it is essential that he regains his upstanding position. This is not always immediately possible and in this event he must quickly adopt a GROUND-DEFENSIVE-POSITION.

The position to be described will minimize any injuries, which an attacker may attempt to inflict upon him.

Lie on one side (right or left) resting your body on your lower forearm, your arm at right angles to your body and also bent. Your lower leg should be bent and your upper leg straight and raised about 10 inches, is or Carotid Arteries (250cms). from the ground.

If your attacker attempts to kick you, you will be in a position to block the blow with your raised upper foot or your upper arm, which should be raised to protect your head.

This side on position will enable you to maneuver around very quickly. (Faster than a person can run around you)

If your attacker presents himself in a suitable standing position you may attempt to place your lower foot around the back of his heel and with your upper foot, push the assailants shin just below the knee. This action should ground the attacker giving you time to regain your feet. 



1.                              Place the insides of both your hands on top of his hands (To prevent him from letting go.)

2.                              Bend slightly forward and lever downwards.

3.                              Step quickly back pulling your attacker forwards

4.                              This sudden action will cause the assailant to fall forward, when a more complex hold can be affected.


The officer must remember that if a person is, as above, offering no violence, then the officer should only use the minimum amount of force to affect his purpose.

1.                              Approach to the rear of the person, who at this stage is not violent. If that person is standing, be alert to the fact that he may suddenly and without prior warning attempt to kick or back heel you. If this happens, try to ‘ride’ the blow and at the same time turn to the side so that if the kick is successful it will land on a part of your body that can more readily absorb the blow, i.e.; thigh muscles or lower leg. Thus protecting your private parts.

2.                              Close your fists, extending your two index fingers.

3.                              Place your fingertips just below his ears and in the fleshy part of his upper jaw. (Mastoid nerve.)

4.                              Force your two fingers together and lift upwards. If he hasn’t a deep-seated nerve the person should let go of the held object immediately you can then affect your intended purpose.

If the officer prefers, or if the person has a deep-seated nerve then the following action can be taken.

1.                              Approach the person as in (1) above, with your left hand, fingers and thumb, in a ‘V’ formation.

2.                              With that hand take hold of the person at the base of his neck.

3.                              Place the ‘cutting’ edge of your right hand. Palm towards his face, fingers extended and thumb tucked in, between this upper lip and nose.

4.                              With your right hand in the above position, push it backwards, forcing his head back until he release his grip. You can then fulfill your intended purpose.

After the officer has effective the release of the grasped object his purpose may be to arrest that person as for a violent or non-violent person. He may use a NORMAL-POLICE-HOLD or in the case of a violent prisoner a HEAD-CHANCERY may be decided upon.


A break fall is a means of falling from a height to the ground with the minimum amount of injury to the person.

The next few chapters on BRAKE FALLS are not written or meant to be an authority on BREAK FALLS. Only a qualified Judo or other, instructor can do this. Only the very basics of BREAK FALLS and following Judo are described here.

Certain parts of the body can absorb punishment more readily than others. The large muscle groups of the legs are an obvious example, whereas the head and spine are very susceptible to injury.


This type of BREAK FALL should be employed when the officer is falling forward or backward. The natural tendency, when falling forward, is to place the hands out in front, or behind, the stop the downward momentum. This natural tendency must be curbed and instead of the palm of the hand first making contact with the ground, the back of the hand must touch first and a roll be executed afterwards.


1.                              On a thick mat, lay on your back tuck your knees up to your chin and grasp them. Begin by rolling backwards, forwards and sideways. Attain the idea that if you tuck the body up like a ball and it can roll.

2.                              Squat down on your haunches. Place your arm out in front of you and the back of your hand touching the mat. Fall forward and roll so that the parts of the body to touch the mat in sequence are: -

A.           Back of the hand

B.           Forearm, upper arm, shoulder.

C.           Back, opposite side of the body

D.           Opposite thigh, lower leg and foot.

E.            Throughout these stages the head is well tucked in.

F.            The regained upstanding position is with one foot forward of the other (same foot as the arm leading the roll) Most of the bodyweight balanced on the forward foot.

With practice on completion of the roll, running forward can follow the recovery position.

After practice and you have mastered the correct techniques the next progression can be: -

1.                  The backward roll can be practiced similarly by to stage (2) except that the parts of the body to touch the ground are in reverse sequence.

2.                   Jump forward from a height (start with a few inches working up to around 2 feet inches (60 cms.)). Landing feet together and decreasing the shock and speed of fall by bending the knees on impact. Follow through with forward or sideways ROLLING BREAK FALL.

3.                  The backward roll can be practiced similarly by to stage (2) except that the parts of the body to touch the ground are in reverse sequence.

4.                  As for stage (2) but backwards and a backward ROLLING BREAK FALL employed.

5.                  Combine stages (2) and (3) by jumping forward and rolling backwards and jumping backwards and rolling forwards.

6.                  Steadily increase your jump until a reasonable height is attained



This type of BREAK FALL should be used if the officer has been thrown sideways or on to his back.


1.                              Lie on your back with one arm raised, back of the hand in front of your face. Throw your hand sharply away from your body and strike the mat sharply with the whole arm, palm downwards. On striking the mat the arm should be straight and slightly less than right angles to the body. The whole of the arm should strike the mat simultaneously

2.                              Practice stage (1) with the opposite arm and then both arms together.

3.                              Roll over on to one side. Place the lower hand, palm downwards, away from the body and at slightly less than right angles to it. Raise the head. Bend the lower knee and raise the upper one about 12 inches (30cms.) The higher arm should be bent and held out in front of the face.

4.                              When stage (3) has been practiced, lie on your back and swing sideways into position (3), striking the mat as in stage (1)

5.                              Swing sideways alternately, attaining the correct position.

6.                              Squat down with your back to the mat, fall backwards and attain the correct position.

7.                              When stage (6) can be achieved correctly, begin to spring backwards, landing in the proper SIDE BODY-BREAK FALL position. Gradually increase the height and speed of the spring back.

8.                              Practice with a partner, stand sideways on to him, place your inside arm around his neck and raise your inside leg horizontally. Your partner should hold you around your waist, with one arm and hold your raised leg, knee joint, with the other hand. Raise your outside leg so that your partner is taking your weight. Your partner should, slowly at first, lower you on to the mat. Attempt to achieve a correct position on landing. As you gain confidence at landing correctly your partner should lower you faster until you can achieve the correct landing at normal falling speed.

9.                              With your partner, kneel down with your hands on the mat, arms and back straight. Your partner faces your side and takes hold, underneath your far side forearm with one hand, you’re outside thigh with the other. At your word of command your partner pulls your arm and leg towards himself. Completely turn your body in mid air and land correctly in the SIDE-BODY-BREAK FALL.

The main difference between a SIDE BODY-BREAKFALL and a BACK-BREAK FALL is that in the SIDE BODY only one hand strikes the mat and the initial landing is side bodied. The landing in the BACK-BREAK FALL, both hands strike the mat at the same time along with the soles of the feet.

 The SIDE BODY -BREAK FALL is usually preferred to the BACK-BREAK FALL.

            Once all the above practices have been completed successfully and you are able to land correctly each time, you should be ready to practice your BREAK FALLS from THROWS. AS Previously stated to be proficient at BREAK FALLS and THROWS one should consider joining a Judo, or other, club where one can get personal and professional tuition.



            Although it is not intended to describe individual THROWS, Judo or other, in this handbook, the author would like to give the reader a basic idea of how the majority of THROWS are effected

            The basic concept of THROWS is to place an opponent in a state of precarious balance; destroy that balance and the body must fall.

            For example: - Have your partner standing facing you with his feet about 18 inches (45cms) apart, hands down by his sides. Take hold of his right upper arm or sleeve with your left hand, with your right hand grasp his waist at the side. By pulling down with your left hand and lifting with your right, your partner will be forced to lean on his right leg, thus destroying his side balance.

            If you move in close to your partner and place your outside left leg to the side and then place your right leg behind his right leg. By pressing him backwards with your right shoulder against his right shoulder, you now cause him to be off balance backwards as well as sideways.

            Your partner is now in an extreme position of precarious balance. It will become obvious that once his right balance is destroyed his body must fall. You may decide upon one of several ways to effect this purpose.

1.                              By a backward sweep with you’re inside right leg.

2.                              By placing your right leg across and to the back of his right leg and pulling him across it.

3.                              By pulling him over your right side.

Having read this last chapter on THROWS the officer may wish to delve deeper into the subject of THROWS. The best course of action would be to join a reputable Judo Club. He may also wish to read a book on the subject and then his only problem would be to choose the best one of the many excellent books on the subject.



An officer may decide to restrain a person on the ground and wait for the arrival of assistance.

These GROUND-RESTRAINING-HOLDS may be the follow up action to a THROW, a rugby tackle or being involved in a wrestle for physical superiority on the ground. 


The officer to attain this hold should endeavor to place himself and his assailant in the following positions.

1.                              Your opponent lying on his back.

2.                              You sitting with your right side as close as possible to his right armpit.

3.                              Place your right arm around and to the back of his neck, gripping the clothing of his right shoulder.

4.                              His right arm around your waist, you gripping his upper sleeve with your left hand, or a ‘Butchers Grip, with both of your hands.

5.                              Your legs slightly apart and bent at the knees.

6.                              Keep your center of gravity as low as possible by leaning forwards and downwards as much as possible in a sitting position.

7.                              Always keep your body lying at right angle to his.

There are many ways in which your opponent may try to counter your SITTING-THIGH-AND-WAIST-HOLD and attempt an escape.

Your counter action may enable you to vary the basic hold and turn it into a stronger hold.

A.                             If your opponent attempts to loop his body around and grip you with his legs, move your legs in a ‘walking’ movement away from his. Always keep your body at right angles to his.

B.                             If he takes his free left arm round your back and places it in a ‘Butchers Grip’ with his right hand; he may attempt to ‘Bear hug’ you into submission. Your counter-action is to force your right upper arm and shoulder into the side of his neck, cutting off his air supply and blood circulation to his head. If this counter-action is correctly and strongly enough applied he will have to submit and as soon as he does slightly relax the pressure and be aware serious injury may occur.

C.                             During a period of struggling to escape your opponent may free his right arm from around your waist and attempt to thrust you off him by placing his hand on your face and pushing your head away: Your counter-action could be: - With your left hand strike his elbow hard and force his arm across the front of you. His right arm should end up across the front of his neck. Resume your ‘Butchers Grip’ with your head well down. The hold will have become immeasurably stronger.

D.                             He may place his free left hand across your face in an attempt to force you backwards off him. Your counter is to grasp his left wrist with your left hand and force it round the back of his neck. As soon as possible grip your own wrist with your right hand, which is still behind his neck, as in the initial hold.

E.                              At a time when you think it most advantageous to yourself (It may come when you are wrestling for holds or when he is momentary resting) take hold of his right wrist with your left hand. Pull his arm out at right angles to his body and turn it round until his palm is upwards and his arm is straight. Force his hand downwards and raise your right thigh close to his body. Loop you right foot over his right forearm and your left foot over and between your right foot and his right hand. If pressure is constantly applied throughout the above action a STRAIGHT-ARM-LOCK will be applied with your legs. Right thigh is the fulcrum left leg the downward force.

F.                              The officer may decide to place his prisoner in an upstanding POLICE-HOLD from a SITTING-THIGH-AND-WAIST-HOLD After placing his prisoners right arm in the previously described LOCK-ARM-LOCK using your legs, pull the prisoners free left arm into a HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR hold or into a WRIST-LOCK Simultaneously release the prisoner over onto his front. Force the prisoners arm into the position before upstanding him.



The officer should endeavor to place himself and his prisoner in the following positions.

1.                              Your prisoner on his front.

2.                              You sitting with your left side as close to his right as possible.

3.                              Your left leg straight out in front and you right leg bent, knee forward.

4.                              His right arm straight, elbow uppermost.

5.                              Your left hand, fingers in a ‘V’ formation gripping his right arm just below the elbow joint.

6.                              Your right hand holding the back of his right hand and levering it upwards, with the joint in a WRISTLOCK action.

7.                              Pull your prisoners arm well into your body and exert pressure buy forcing upwards with your right hand and downwards with your left, against the elbow joint.

8.                              If you decide to up stand your prisoner, place his arm in a HAMMER-LOCK-AND-BAR on the ground, making sure the hold is correctly and strongly enough applied before attempting to allow him to stand up.



Every member of the civil Police Force is issued with a Staff or Truncheon.

It is at the discretion of the officer or on the orders of a senior officer that the Staff may be used.

            A staff should never be drawn from its pocket except as a last resort. It must never be used to threaten and should only be drawn if it is to be actually used by the officer.

            The staff should always be carried in the truncheon trouser pocket, with the leather thong tucked into the pocket out of sight. The reason for this is that if a potential assailant notices the leather thong hanging by the officer’s side he may put his fingers through the thong, withdraw the staff and use it as a weapon against the officer.

            The correct holding position is achieved by placing the thumb through the leather thong loop, wrapping it around the back of the wrist and then taking hold of the staff handle. If the whole wrist is placed through the thong loop it may become trapped if an assailant grabs hold of the truncheon, pulls and then twists it.

            If an officer has decided top use his staff, then the targets on the human body are: -

1.                              The collarbone.

2.                              Arms (upper arm, forearm, wrists, fingers)

3.                              Legs (Large thigh muscles, kneecaps, shins.)

An officer using his staff should never aim for the head for fear of causing serious or fatal injury.

      Other uses for the staff are: -

  1. Parrying off weapon attacks

  2. Breaking into locked premises (Glass windows etc.)

  3. As a lever.

  4. As an emergency splint.

  5. As a non-conductor (If Dry) moving live electric cables.

In certain circumstances an officer may take hold of his staff by the middle, pass it between a prisoners legs from the back. By twisting the staff (so that the two halves of the staff are at the front, top, of the prisoners thighs) and lifting, at the same time taking hold of the clothing collar, a stubborn prisoner can be made to move forward.



A.                             Instruct your suspect to face a solid object, wall, car, etc.

B.                             Order him to stand with his legs wide apart.

C.                             His hands should be held out in front and touching the wall with his fingers.

D.                             Instruct him to walk slowly backwards until he is balanced on the tips of his fingers.

E.                              Stand close to the side of your suspect as you carry out the search.

F.                              If the suspect begins to turn violent, your inside foot can sweep his legs away, causing him to fall to the ground. A GROUND-RESTRAINING –HOLD can then be effected.


An Officer may be called upon to deal with a situation where he is required to lift or move a person of deadweight. That person may be dead, unconscious or a passive resistance demonstrator who is refusing to move and has adopted a sitting or lying down position.

      In the above cases lifting a dead body-weight has its problems-especially if the person is above average weight.

     The recommended action to be taken is: -


                              If the person is lying on his front on to his front then turn him onto his back as described in  (A) to (E) below


                              When he is on his back then kneel at his head in line with his body.


                              Pass your hands under his armpits and grasp his forearms. (Right to right )


                              Pull the body into a sitting position


                              By pulling the persons forearms towards you and lifting, the body can be raised and by walking backwards can be moved


     To turn a dead-body-weight from face down to face upwards (on it’s back), crouch by the side of the body. (Here described is crouching to the bodies left)

B.                                         Move the person’s head carefully away, to the side, from you.

C.                                        Move the person’s left arm down, straight by the side.

D.                                        Place the left leg on top of the right leg.

E.                                         Place the palm of your left hand on the person’s left cheek and support the head.

F.                                         With the right hand take hold of the clothing around his waist and pull him over on to his back. At all times give full support to the head.

N.B                  The above method of turning a body is used when medical and first aid rules apply.

The correct method of lifting any deadweight is to stand with your feet about 18 inches (45cms) apart and the knees bent. Keep the back as straight as possible. Stand slowly up, taking most of the weight on the large thigh muscles.


The importance of regular practice of all movements is of utmost importance and cannot be overstressed. By reading these guidelines a technical knowledge can be obtained but only practice with a ‘sparring partner’ can ‘speed of application’ be achieved.

   When learning a new hold, read the chapter first, then follow all the stages slowly. Experience has proved that all the stages are necessary and that by omitting any stage, the hold will become less efficient and weaker. Your goal should be to merge all the stages into one smooth, fast speed of application’.

   Your partner must, without hindrance, allow you to learn all the stages; and only when you become more proficient and quicker, should he attempt to struggle or counter your holds realistically. Later your partners attempts to escape are important to your gaining experience. These attempts show you the many different ways a prisoner may react.

   Even if you never become expert on the subject of POLICE-HOLDS, just a small amount of practice will give you an insight into the physical workings of the body.

A very small example of this is that by pressing the back of the hand WITH the wrist joint, pain will occur. We already knew this, but did we realise we can make this an advantage?

   If and when you become more efficient in this or any physical attribute, your confidence will begin to build.