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A softer approach to hand-cuffing

The sight of police handcuffing a pupil in the playground then shoving them into the back of a squad car is never going to be particularly cheerful.

But all credit to the New York Police Department for trying to make the experience a tiny bit more comfortable for children.

Starting next month, NYPD will be testing out velcro handcuffs. They will only use them, rather than the tougher steel versions, if they need to restrain pupils at 22 schools in the northern Queens area.

Paul Browne, Deputy Police Commissioner, told the New York Daily News: "We would prefer never to use restraints of any kind, but in those rare instances where it may become necessary, we want a softer alternative to conventional handcuffs."

Of course, velcro handcuffs have the added advantage of being adjustable to they can fit smaller wrist sizes, which is handy if you need to restrain, say, a five-year-old.

The parents of Dennis Rivera, aged five, complained after the boy was handcuffed in January last year following what the school described as a violent tantrum.

His father, Dennis Sr, was unconvinced by the velcro plan, saying that it was still a heavy-handed police tactic. "They could be made of teddy bear material, but they still would be handcuffs."

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