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Press release; Safer-Handling’s response to the conclusion of the Thomas Orchard inquest.

Free training for police forces & 2024 ERB exchange procedure 


Safer-Handling are offering a subsidised exchange policy for forces replacing their Emergency Response Belts and free of charge, Soft Restraint Belt train the trainer courses for police Officer Safety Trainers.


Background to the findings of the December 2023 inquiry 

The Thomas Orchard Inquest found that police failures around the use of a limb restraint applied around Thomas’ face, may have contributed to his death following prolonged restraint. Safer-Handling were not personally involved with the development of the Emergency Response Belt. However, due to our industry position through the development and implementation of the Soft Restraint Belt (SRB) across the NHS, and our collaboration within the Ministry of Justice, we want to offer forces support with cultural change.

Since Thomas’ death there have been two manslaughter prosecutions, a Health & Safety Act prosecution, and a lengthy inquest. Throughout all this, the family of Thomas Orchard have been seeking public accountability for his death, calling for a ‘cultural change.’

The Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police pleaded guilty to a criminal offence under health and safety legislation in relation admitting that there had been subsequent failures to identify the risks the ERB posed to breathing and that when introducing the ERB there had not been adequate consideration or assessment of the ERB’s use.

In their narrative conclusion, the jury findings included the following statement. 

“The use and manner of use of the ERB when Thomas was carried was not necessary and reasonable, and there was a lack of warning or communication both with Thomas and between officers. This process likely increased his stress and possibly his ability to breathe, which possibly contributed to his death.”

In their statement Thomas Orchard’s family said,

Thomas cannot be brought back but we can only hope that some good can come from his death. 

We heard some encouraging evidence about some very positive changes that have been made since Thomas died and we can only hope that these changes are implemented robustly with appropriate training, supervision and monitoring.”


Emergency Response Belt exchange policy 

Forces that return of any ERBs, in return for 1 free updated SRB and 50% price reduction on SRB's purchased throughout 2024.


Date and Location of training

Fully subsidised appropriate SRB training for officer safety trainers can be arranged at your venue by contacting us directly with our first open course taking place:

Date: Wednesday 13th March 2024 

Venue: Greater Manchester Police, Hough End Centre, Mauldeth Road W, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 7SX


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