The Use of Neck Restraints in Restraint Techniques: An Argument for and Against


The recent instruction by the Public Safety Minister to ban the use of neck restraints by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has sparked a debate on the effectiveness and safety of such techniques.

The RCMP’s Management Advisory Board has stated that neck restraints can be justified as a less lethal alternative to lethal force in some cases.

Read the article here –

However, recent history has shown how easily the use of neck restraints can lead to tragic outcomes, as seen in cases like George Floyd and Eric Garner.

While NFPS Ltd does not teach or encourage the use of neck restraints, it recognizes that in certain situations, trained individuals may have to use their discretion to apply reasonable force as a less lethal option.

This article will construct an argument for and against the banning of neck restraints while promoting the values of the NFPS Ltd BTEC Level 3 Restraint Instructor Award Course.

The Argument For Banning Neck Restraints:

High-Risk Technique: The use of neck restraints, particularly sleeper holds, carries a high risk of causing serious injury or death.

Restricting blood flow to the brain can lead to loss of consciousness and even fatal consequences, as seen in numerous cases.

Tragic Outcomes: History has shown us the devastating consequences of neck restraints having gone wrong. Incidents like George Floyd’s death have highlighted the urgent need for stricter regulations and bans on such techniques.

Medical and Legal Implications: The application of force to the neck area poses significant medical and legal concerns.

Considering the potential risks and dangers associated with neck restraints, it becomes necessary to prohibit their use to safeguard both suspects and law enforcement personnel.

Focus on Safer Alternatives: Banning neck restraints encourages the exploration and implementation of safer restraint techniques.

By shifting the focus to less dangerous alternatives, we can better ensure public safety while still allowing for effective restraint when necessary.

The Argument Against Banning Neck Restraints:

Less Lethal Alternative: As stated by the RCMP’s Management Advisory Board, neck restraints can be considered a less lethal option compared to the use of firearms or other deadly force options in certain situations.

Proper Training and Discretion: Comprehensive training, as provided by NFPS Ltd’s courses, ensures that individuals understand the risks and limitations of neck restraints.

Trained professionals can exercise their discretion to apply reasonable force when circumstances fall outside the scope of standard procedures, potentially saving lives in critical situations.

Individual Accountability: Instead of an outright ban, emphasis should be placed on individual accountability and adherence to proper protocols.

This includes thorough reviews, accurate record-keeping, and continuous evaluation of restraint techniques to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

Context MattersBanning neck restraints altogether might be too rigid a response.

Each situation is unique, and sometimes, the circumstances may require officers to make quick decisions to protect themselves and the public.

Properly trained officers should be allowed to use their judgment while considering the concept of reasonable force.


The question of whether to ban the use of neck (sleeper hold) restraints is complex, with valid arguments on both sides.

While the risks associated with such techniques cannot be ignored, comprehensive training, medical and legal reviews, and the exercise of discretion can mitigate these risks.

NFPS Ltd’s emphasis on teaching restraint techniques within the bounds of reasonable force and promoting individual accountability could strike a balance between public/staff and service user safety and the need for effective and legally defensible training.

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