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  • a)  This policy forms part of NIGHT WATCH SECURITY SERVICES LTD’s Health and Safe Policy.
  • b)  Employees must ensure that they do not use any form of physical force that may be construed as “assault” to control or discipline any persons. The only exception to this is in the use of physical contact to prevent an immediate danger of significant physical injury to, or the damage to the property of, any person.
  • c)  Employees who use force in a way that does not conform to this policy, or the following notes of guidance, may be subject to disciplinary action,
  • d)  There will be occasions where damage to property may be deemed preferable to the application of physical force as a preventative measure. However, staff should give consideration to the nature of the property in question and whether its damage may place any person at risk of injury or lead to criminal proceedings.


  1. Preventive Measures
  2. a) On the basis that early action taken to diffuse a potentially violent situation is the most desirable solution, the following techniques are suggested for dealing with people who are becoming increasingly agitated:
  •  Ignore the inappropriate behavior.
  •  Redirect or remind the person with verbal cues.
  • Calm him/her down by setting expectations and giving them a choice about how to
  • respond to the situation
  • Acknowledge the feelings that are causing the agitation, giving the person the
  • opportunity to express their feelings verbally rather than physically; or
  • Remove the source of the agitation, or the person, to a more neutral environment.
  1. b) In considering the techniques mentioned above, there are a number of points to bear in mind:
  • There are clear situations where the inappropriate behaviour cannot be ignored, such as violence or destruction of property
  • The feelings of the employee must also be acknowledged. Employees should Endeavour to appear calm, even though they may be feeling quite the contrary
  • In attempting to diffuse the situation, the use of touch should be considered carefully. An attempt to calm by laying a hand gently on the person’s shoulder, for instance, may lead to escalation of the behaviour.
  1. Physical Presence

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  • a)  By their very presence, employees should be able to convey messages of care and control. This presence should normally be sufficient to positively influence the person’s behaviour, through the use of a look, gesture or quiet word.
  • b)  A deliberate strategy to deal with difficult behaviour may be for an employee to devote himself or herself exclusively to one person. As far as is possible this should be through the use of constructive activity/discussion rather than just “shadowing” and, if possible, should be agreed in liaison with all other employees present.
  • c)  In the event that a person is “running away”, this strategy is more advisable than resorting to “restraint”, unless the person is placing him/herself in immediate danger of significant injury. In such situations the member of staff selected to stay with the person, should allow the individual to move far enough away from the others involved allowing them sufficient privacy to distance of their composure. The remaining staff should ensure that they are within shouting/signaling distance of their colleague and ready to assist if required. Unless this assistance is requested, they should make every effort to calm the remaining people and prevent them from attempting to follow, or communicate with, the person concerned.
  1. d) If the employee cannot keep pace with the person, or is no longer in a position to request support from the Team, he/she must accept that further efforts are not advisable
  2. e) In using physical presence the following factors must be considered:
  • The technique used must be those propagated in the SIAs Assault Avoidance, Disengagement and Holding Course
  • If challenged, staff should be prepared to engage a person who physically resists, explaining what is being done and why
  • The conscious use if physical presence for control purposes can be oppressive if extended over long periods, and this should be borne in mind
  • Oppressive physical methods may also reactivate previous negative experiences for the person, possibly resulting in a violent reaction.
  1. Physical Restraint

Principles for using physical Restraint:

  • Employees should take steps in advance to avoid the need for physical restraint, e.g.; through dialogue and diversion (see above); and the person should be warned verbally that physical restraint would be used unless he/she desists.
  • Every effort should be made to secure the presence of other SIA badged employees before applying restraint. These personnel can act as assistants and witnesses.
  • a)  Whenever possible there should be at least two SIA badged personnel present when a person is being restrained and the most senior member of staff available should take charge of the situation.
  • b)  If it is necessary to restrain a person, a member of staff of the appropriate gender must be present from the earliest possible time.
  • c)  In a situation where the person’s behaviour is directed at a particular employee, the employee concerned should not be involved in carrying out the restraint, unless there is no other alternative.

If it becomes necessary to physically restrain a violent person; to avoid injury and the infliction of pain, the amount of force used must Necessary Reasonable and Proportionate

  1. a)  Employees must consider any hazards presented by the immediate environment (e.g.: furniture, equipment, windows etc.) and endeavor to steer the person towards a safer area or consider how to protect all those involved, from the hazard.
  2. b)  The length of time any person is restrained should be the minimum necessary to achieve the immediate objective.
  3. c)  As soon as it is felt safe, restraint should be gradually relaxed to allow the person to regain self-control. During this process the person should be told what is happening and what behaviour is expected of them. As the hold is relinquished, employees should look for indications that may suggest the person will restart the aggressive behaviour.

Restraint should be an act of care and control, not punishment:

  1. a)  In some circumstances it may not be appropriate to speak to the person during the exercise of restraint as this may compound the issue. However most people will respond positively if spoken to in a quiet and soothing manner, to encourage the speedy return of calm and self- control.
  2. b)  Physical restraint should not be used purely to force compliance with instructions when there is no immediate risk to people or property.
  3. c)  Restraint should be ceased if the contact appears to be arousing any sexual expectations or feelings.
  4. d)  Employees should be careful where they hold people. For instance, they should be careful not to hold a person in such a way that it involves contact with breasts or genitals and, if female, the individual should not be held with her legs apart.
  5. e)  People known to be suffering from epilepsy must not be restrained. If during restraint, a person begins to have an epileptic fit the restraint should cease.
  6. f)  Pregnant women should not be restrained, unless as a last resort. If restraint in unavoidable, extra care must be taken to ensure the minimum amount of force is used.
  7. g)  It is not normally acceptable to use force to prevent a person taking drugs or alcohol. However, if drugs are being used to cause deliberate self-harm physical action may be appropriate if all other attempts to dissuade the person from taking drugs and behave. In situations involving drugs, the assistance of the Police should be seriously considered

4. Restraint Techniques:

The physical restraint of a very violent person of large stature (or in possession of a dangerous weapon) is likely to place the restrainer/s in some danger of injury, this risk will be reduced if as many SIA badged employees as possible are called to assist. On no account should employees attempt to overcome a large and violent person merely to re-establish control.

If this sort of incident occurs, the employees’ efforts should be redirected towards protection of themselves and other people. If circumstances permit, it may be advisable to contact the police.

  • Generally the most useful form of restraining is to encircle the individual with “the wrap”. This can be done from a standing or sitting position. Care is needed if limbs are held since a struggle could result in a limb being wrenched or broken. This risk is minimised if limbs are held near a major joint or preferably on both sides of a major joint. Employees should also be aware of the possibility that a person being restrained in this manner may attempt to use their head as a means of striking the restrainer.
  • Physical intervention techniques that place the adult’s weight on the person should be avoided. This is particularly applicable when restraining younger people, or smaller children; someone of the opposite sex; a young person with a history a sexual abuse and pregnant women.
  • In very violent incidents it may be necessary to restrain a person by placing him or her down on the floor and holding his or her arms and legs. In a team restraint there must always be one leader who directs the action. This person must be the only one to give directions and should be the only one communicating with the person. Any other employees involved must follow the leader’s directions. It may be advisable for another employee to relieve the primary person restraining the person, if that person is tiring. Caution is required in this method of restraint; care must be taken to avoid friction burns and the possibility of the person’s airway becoming blocked. It may also be necessary for someone to support/protect the person’s head from injury.
  • It is important to listen to what the person is saying during an exercise of restraint and use judgement to adjust the hold if the person complains of pain.
  1. Recording the incident:

At the earliest opportunity, staff must complete a Serious Occurrence Report which should be submitted to the General Manager & The Risk Management Department for very serious incidents both should be informed buy telephone immediately it becomes practicable to do so. This should identify ‘’how the incident was brought under control” and indicate how the person was restrained, if relevant, and for how long.

Note: Any incident resulting in; an injury to any party that requires professional medical attention; the assistance of Police or other emergency service, must be brought to the attention of the Team Manager in the form of a written “story book”“report

  1. Following an incident:

Debriefing the incident: Team Manager should ensure that any incidents of restraint are discussed at a Team meeting. This should enable a constructive review of how the incident was managed, provide support to the employees involved and initiate appropriate follow-up with the person involved.