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"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts

Security Restraint Field  
  A force field that restricts personal movement.  

This seems to beat just handcuffing a guy in the back seat of a police car.

Outside they had a manually-operated car larger than the robot cabs. The second guard slipped into the driver's seat; the other urged Don into the passenger compartment. There he sat down and started to turn - and found that he could not. He was unable even to raise his hands. Any attempt to move, to do anything other than sit and breathe, felt like struggling against the weight of too many blankets. "Take it easy," the guard advised. "You can pull a ligament fighting that field. And it does not do any good."

Don had to prove to himself that the man was right. Whatever the invisible bonds were, the harder he strained against them the tighter they bound him. On the other hand when he relaxed and rested he could not even feel them.

From Between Planets, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1951
Additional resources -

This is similar to the tanglefoot field from The Star Beast.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Between Planets
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