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Conductive Energy Devices (CEDs) are otherwise known by their trade name 'Tasers'. In 2004, following a trial in five forces, it was agreed to allow the chief officers of all police forces in England and Wales to make CEDs available to authorised firearms officers for use in authorised firearms operations.

In July 2007, authorised firearms officers were allowed to use CEDs in a wider set of circumstances. These officers are now additionally able to deploy CEDs in operations or incidents where the use of firearms is not authorised, but where they are facing violence or threats of violence where they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subject.

Also announced in July 2007 was the trial in 10 police forces of CED deployment to non-firearms officers facing similar violence or threats of violence. These officers are referred to as Specially Trained Officers or STOs.

The 12-month STO trial commenced on 1 September 2007 and ended on 31 August 2008. It took place in the following forces: Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Gwent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Wales and West Yorkshire.

Following the success of the trial, from 1 December 2008, CED use was extended to STOs.

On 2 March 2017, following a comprehensive assessment by an independent medical committee, government scientists and the police, the Home Secretary authorised the use of the TASER X2.

With regards to using a TASER for self-defence, please see Q766.


Conductive Energy Devices (CEDs) are otherwise known by their trade name 'Tasers'. A CED is used in situations of violence and potential violence. Police have a duty to de-escalate events to try to stop situations from turning violent in an effort to protect the public and themselves.

In the UK, the use of a CED does not necessarily mean that electrical discharge is delivered to a person. Because the police recognise that the mere availability of a CED at an incident can help to defuse the situation, they differentiate 'use' into seven types: drawn, aimed, arced, red dot, drive-stun, angled drive-stun and probes fired. The first four types of use do not deliver electrical discharge and comprise the majority (about 80%) of uses by UK police. In the remaining 20%, the majority involve fired probes. Use in one of the drive-stun modes comprises about 1%.

On 80% of occasions when officers are presented with violence or potential violence, the mere presence of the CED is enough to bring that situation to a swift conclusion without the need for physical force to be used. In such dynamic situations, officers aren't always going to know the person's background or medical history. It is in these instances that officers use their experience and training to make a decision on what use of force option to adopt.

If immediate action is needed and a CED is deployed, following the situation calming down, officers will make sure the individual is given immediate medical attention if needed, which includes hospital transfer if necessary. The priority is to remove the risk the person presents to themselves and others with the least intrusive options.

With regards to using a TASER for self-defence, please see Q766.


Conductive Energy Devices (CEDs) are otherwise known by their trade name 'Tasers'. When CED pulses are applied to the body, either through clothing or directly on the skin, electrical current flows. This current activates nerves under the skin which then cause muscles to contract. When this happens, the contractions produced by the CED override a person's ability to make voluntary movements – the person will not be able to run away or physically attack someone. This muscular incapacitation only continues for as long as the CED discharge is applied.

The normal reaction of a person exposed to the electrical discharge of a CED is pain, coupled with the loss of voluntary muscle control which can result in the subject falling to the ground or freezing on the spot. Recovery from these effects should be almost instantaneous once the discharge turns off. Anyone who is arrested after being subjected to CED discharge is examined by a medical professional.

With regards to using a TASER for self-defence, please see Q766.


Conductive Energy Devices (CEDs) are otherwise known by their trade name 'Tasers'.

Police forces record and monitor all CED use.

Forces have been issued guidance in relation to monitoring CED use and each force is required to:

• Have a well identified and experienced single point of contact within force who can represent that force at National meetings.

• Have a credible and well-informed CED lead. This person may be the force's Chief Officer lead with responsibility for less-lethal weapons.

• Have knowledge of the police force's position relative to the National picture.

• Have protocols to quality assure all CED use forms. Have a knowledge of CED use statistics and be able to identify and initiate action to investigate anomalies.

• Action response to Freedom of Information Act requests regarding use of CED.

• Anticipate media interest and have a media strategy reflecting the national position.

• Have a comprehensive engagement programme to inform communities as it is essential that they are involved.

• Record complaints correctly - in according with the definition given earlier.

• Have a flow of information with the national Less-Lethal Weapons secretariat who will act as a critical friend for support and guidance.

With regards to using a TASER for self-defence, please see Q766.

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