CED's (Conducted Energy Devices, otherwise known as Tasers) were introduced in the UK in 2003 for firearms officers. In 2007 it was extended to non-firearms officers known as Specially Trained Officers (STO).
A CED is a less-lethal single shot weapon designed to temporarily incapacitate a suspect through the use of an electrical current. It is a hand-held weapon similar in shape and size to a pistol, but is normally bright yellow in colour.
The X26 CED , used by trained Norfolk officers, uses an electrical current which interferes with the body’s neuromuscular system. It allows officers to deal with violent or potentially violent people at a distance.
CED is not the panacea for all violent incidents, and on occasions it is not always effective. Great skill and judgment are required in order to use it effectively in appropriate circumstances.
CED is usually held in a holster on an officer’s belt or a pouch on the body armour, (but can be carried in other positions if a firearms officer) along with other officer safety equipment. It is clearly visible, being yellow and black, designed to stand out and be identified as a CED
Frequently Asked Questions
When was CED introduced?
In 2004, following a trial in five forces, it was agreed to allow chief officers of all police forces in England and Wales to make CED available to authorised firearms officers.
In July 2007 authorised police firearms officers were allowed to use CED in a greater set of circumstances. These officers are now able to deploy CED in operations or incidents where the use of firearms is not authorised, but where they are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subject.
It was also announced in July 2007 that the deployment of CED by specially trained police units who are not firearms officers, but who are facing similar threats of violence, would be trialed in ten police forces.
The 12-month trial commenced on 1 September 2007 and finished 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, Taser use was extended to specially trained units (now termed as ‘specially trained officers’)
When can officers in Norfolk use CED?
CED may be deployed and used as one of a number of tactical options only after application of the National Decision Model (NDM). When CED, or any other force is used on an individual, a police officer will always have to justify their actions as being necessary and proportionate under the law.
All uses of CED are reported to the Home Office in great detail, including those where young people are involved.
Is every police officer in Norfolk given a CED?
Every Chief Constable or Commissioner makes a decision, based on an assessment of the risks in their own area, to train and deploy a proportionate number of officers to use CED so that the public are kept safe and their officers are protected as far as possible.
Why does Norfolk use CED?
CED is an additional tactical option that allows officers to manage situations where violence is threatened or likely from a safe distance. - In the vast majority of cases where CED is deployed the mere threat of its use has been enough to bring violent or potentially violent situations to a safe and peaceful resolution. In certain circumstances, the use of CED is more appropriate than conventional firearms in resolving dangerous situations safely and without the risk of serious injury.
In addition, officers who are trained and equipped with CED must decide on the most reasonable and necessary use of force in the circumstances. The level of force used must be the minimum necessary to achieve the objective and officers are individually accountable in law for the amount of force they use on a person.
The alternatives to CED include a range of other measures such as physical restraint, batons and police dogs. Much will depend upon the circumstances, but CED will often be less likely to cause injury than the use of a police baton or a police dog.
What happens to someone when CED is used on them?
The normal reaction of a person exposed to the discharge of a CED is the loss of some voluntary muscle control resulting in the subject falling to the ground or freezing on the spot. Recovery from the direct effects of the CED should be almost instantaneous, once the discharge is complete.
Anyone arrested having been subject to a CED is routinely examined by a doctor.
What happens if someone with a heart problem is subject to a CED?
Officers won’t always know the people they are faced with or their medical history. The officers still have to deal with the circumstances presented to them. Some people who are violent may have a condition that not even they are aware of. What is important, is that the officer deals with the situation in a proportionate manner and only uses that force which is necessary in the circumstances.
If an officer becomes aware that the person they are dealing with is suffering from a condition, they will treat the person as a medical emergency and get them to hospital
What happens if someone is subject to a CED more than once?
There are instances where people have been subjected to more than one use of the CED in the UK with no ill effect.
CED's have been called '50,000 volt stun guns'. Are people hit with 50,000 volts?
It is not correct to say CED use 50,000 volts to stun people, that is not how they operate.
At the top of a CED there are two contact points which need to link together. In order to do this, the CED generates a maximum peak voltage of 50,000 volts for less than a second to allow the arc to jump a gap so the two contact points meet. The CED also does this in incidents where a probe lodges in clothing and must jump the gap to the body. When travelling across the human body, the peak voltage drops to 1,200 volts. It should also be pointed out that volts are not dangerous. The average current a CED emits is 0.0021amps.
A CED works not by power, but by the way it sends the current into the body and how the muscles respond. For example, the energy delivered per pulse is 0.07 joules compared to a cardiac defibrillator which typically delivers 150-400 joules per pulse, which is 2,000 to 5,000 times more powerful.
Which CED's do trained and qualified Norfolk officers use?
The X26 Taser.
If the current CED works, why do we need a new one?
The police service is legally bound to explore alternatives to lethal force and continuously examines new technology to examine whether there are any developments which could be applied in UK policing .
The Taser X26 has been commercially available since 2003. As with all electronic devices, technology moves on and new models may offer significant advances in safety, use and accountability. All equipment has a realistic life expectancy and will eventually need to be replaced.
CED can only be deployed by Authorised Firearms Officers or Specially Trained Officers (STO’s).
In addition to Authorised Firearms Officers there are 136 Specially Trained Officers, they are spread around the county with the intention of ensuring an even spread of STO’s across each shift.
CED will only be authorised by an accredited Tactical Firearms Commander who will apply the use of the NDM to assist in their decision making process. There may be occasions where an incident occurs in front of the CED officer and they can self-arm, ensuring that they update the relevant commander as soon as practicable after of their decision to do so.
Results - 2018
Self - authorised
For previous statistics on CED deployment, please see below:
Professional training and security
The number of STO’s will be sufficient to support operational deployments within Norfolk. The number of STO’s will be coordinated by the Chief Inspector of Specialist Operations, who will link in with the relevant County Policing Commanders, and will be subject to review in line with the Firearms Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment.
All officers from Norfolk Police selected to use CED must pass an intensive three day CED training course prior to becoming qualified CED operators. The course includes detailed assessments on decision making, scenario based incidents, use of force and the medical implications of the use of CED.
CED training in Norfolk doesn’t just focus on the CED itself. It helps officers to fine tune existing skills and teaches them the importance of communication, justification and management of post use procedures.
There is a 3 stage process to becoming a STO;
- Stage 1 – Recommendation by line manager for the role of STO
- Stage 2 – Personal Safety Training and First Aid check to ensure current and competent in both
- Stage 3 – Attendance at a selection day.
The selection day will consist of the following;
- Eyesight test
- Knowledge check – This will be based around the use of force and the NDM
- Isolation drills and Emotionally and Mentally Distressed Scenario
Before attending a course, officers must be up to date with Officer Safety Training and First Aid.
Norfolk officers selected for training must pass an intensive three day course before qualifying as a CED operator. The course combines practical scenarios with classroom based learning and continuous assessment.
Practical scenarios aim to test the officer’s decision making processes and application of the relevant legislation around the use of force. Officers are also tested in recognising medical emergencies and any adverse reactions arising from the use of force. CED training in Norfolk follows national standards and guidelines.
All Authorised Firearms Officers will receive the same training with CED as STO’s.
CED Initial course contents
- How to use CED - This is taught through drills in a shooting range environment and re-enforced in practical scenarios
- When to use it - Lessons cover rationale, what your options are, looking at all the tactics available either as an individual or as part of a group. This is guided by the National Decision Model, Human Rights Act and domestic law
- Post use procedure - How to retrieve and record evidence, including identification discs and dataport downloads
Officers are continuously assessed throughout the course. There are three specific tests:-
- Qualification shoot - officers are tested in accuracy, handling the CED and use of safety against static targets
- A written exam
- Scenarios - officers are tested in situations that resemble real life. eg how to deal with someone armed with a knife
Once qualified as a CED user officers must take part in an annual one day refresher course.
Officers have to justify every time they remove the CED from the holster. This justification is checked by a number of levels of supervision.
Every time an officer removes the CED from the holster they are required to complete an account of the incident that led to its removal. This is quality assured by the CED Training Manager/SPOC, and then referred to the CFI (Chief Firearms Instructor) before the paperwork is then submitted to the Home Office.
- Dataport - Every CED has a dataport which records details each time the CED is fired
- Cartridges - Each cartridge is marked with a unique serial number and must be signed out by the officer who takes it.
- Identification discs - When the CED is fired, hundreds of small coloured identification discs (like confetti) are ejected from the cartridge along with the wires that carry the electric charge.
The effect of CED
CED's work on two levels, psychological and physiological.
Psychological - CED stands out, it is yellow and black. The laser sight allows the officer to accurately aim the CED as well as giving a clear warning to the subject that they have been targeted. Publicity through the press and on social media has meant that most suspects are aware of the effects of CED and tend to surrender without the need to discharge the weapon. In the vast majority of cases it was not necessary to discharge the CED, its presence alone was enough to bring the situation to a swift conclusion without the need for force to be used.
Physiological - When fired CED delivers a sequence of very short high voltage pulses that result in the loss of voluntary muscle control causing the subject to fall to the ground or freeze. In the X26 the voltage peaks at 50,000 volts and when it reaches the body it is substantially less. The volts are responsible for delivering the amps. CED runs off 0.0021 amps at average performance.
Modes of Use
The CED is laser sighted and uses cartridges attached to the end of the cartridge bay. When fired, a pair of barbs attached to insulated wires is projected from the cartridge. The CED may also be used in a direct contact stun mode.
The term ‘use of the CED ’ will include any of the following actions carried out in an operational setting
When an officer considers there to be a imminent use or threat of violence they can consider one of the following uses of CED :
- Drawn: Removed from holster.
- Aimed: Pointed at subject.
- Red Dot: Pointed at subject with red dot laser sight active so that red dot appears on subject.
- Arced: No cartridge attached. CED switched on and trigger squeezed in order that electric current arcs between contacts on front of CED. In certain circumstances it may be appropriate to provide a visual display of the sparking effect of the unloaded CED which may provide a visual deterrent.
- Fired: Cartridge attached. CED switched on and trigger squeezed causing cartridge to fire so that the barbs are discharged.
- Drive Stun: No cartridge attached. Front of CED placed against subject and arced.
- Angled drive stun: Cartridge on. After an ineffective firing (barb placements too close together or failure of one barb to attach) front of CED placed on subject away from the barbs and CED activated.
One officer carrying out any of these will constitute a CED 'use'. Two officers carrying out any of these on the same subject will count as two 'uses' but one subject. For example one officer may draw the CED, and another Aims the CED on the same subject. Two uses, one subject.