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.