Why do police truncheons have a leather strap?
Both modern and old police truncheons have a strap on.
They’re called a lanyard. Some call them a retention strap or a wrist strap.
On modern truncheons, they are often made of nylon, on proper old-style wooden truncheons they are usually leather.
But why do police truncheons have a leather strap?
There are several reasons:
- To stop it from flying out of your hand during use and stop it from slipping out of your hand during repeated strikes.
- To stop the offender from easily removing it from the user and then using it on the officer.
- To allow the swift removal from the trouser pocket where they used to be kept (police uniforms used to have a special truncheon pocket on one leg).
Modern-day police tend to use metal expanding batons now, and they are kept in a special holder on the belt. Most favoured among the British police seems to be one made by the company Peter Jones (no, not the chap from Dragons Den).
If using a truncheon with a lanyard, police officers we know stress how you must hold it correctly. Don’t stick your hand through it. It doesn’t go around your wrist, it goes over your thumb and across the back of your hand.
Here is the relevant section on how to hold your truncheon from a 1967 guide.
Not all police truncheons had a leather strap.
The top design above has the turned recess near the top where a lanyard would usually be fitted. The one below doesn’t have that so was likely not made to have one.
Designs differed over the years and between different forces. In the latter half of the 20th century, it would be quite unusual to find a police truncheon that didn’t have a lanyard originally.
If you want a traditional British police-style wooden truncheon we sell an exact replica of a 1960s Leeds City Police one with a leather lanyard at a very reasonable price. Click the button below to find out more.