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Is every police officer given a CED?
Every chief constable 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 CEDs so that the public are kept safe and police officers are protected as far as possible.
Not everyone will be accepted for training in the use of CEDs and not every officer will pass the course.
The carriage of Taser is a voluntary role and there is great responsibility placed on those who do.
Who is responsible for training officers?
Officers are trained by their own in-force trainers. All forces have a Lead Instructor (some having more than one) who is trained by a small team of National Instructors governed by the College Of Policing.
This method of tiered delivery means that training should be no more than twice removed, and in some cases only once removed, from the original delivery by the College of Policing, despite being cascaded to many thousands of officers.
This approach, in conjunction with a national curriculum and training products, delivers the highest level of standardisation realistically achievable.
How are officers selected to become CED officers?
These are gateway standards that must be met before an applicant for initial training is authorised to commence their training. Some forces / agencies may include other requirements including raised fitness levels depending on an officer’s core role within that police service.
Once an officer has been authorised to attend training, they will then undergo an initial user course, of 18 hours minimum contact time. During the course they will be expected to be able to:
Upon successful completion of the initial course, the candidate will have achieved the role profile of an STO.
What must an STO comply with in order to maintain their authorisation to carry a CED operationally?
STOs will be required to successfully complete annual refresher training, of 6 hours minimum contact time. If they are found not to be competent during refresher training then re-accreditation must take place or they will leave this role.
They will be expected to undergo a biennial eyesight test and maintain competence to the national minimum standard in both first aid and officer safety training along with complying with safe systems of work for the loading, unloading and function checking of the CED and reporting any faults or failures to Taser SPOC or technician.
It has been said that officers using CED receive training for only three days. Is that enough?
The CED training package in the UK is one of longest and most comprehensive in the world.
The training has been developed by an experienced group of CED instructors and practitioners and is subject to regular update and review.
It is robustly scrutinised by the National Less-Lethal Weapons Working Group, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the Scientific Advisory Committee on the Medical Implications of Less-Lethal Weapons (SACMILL).
In order to pass the training, officers must have an established history and training in the use of force and decision making, have officer safety training and first aid competence. CED training then builds on this existing training and experience.
The initial training module is a minimum 18 hours, usually spread across three days. However, the total training an officer receives to become a competent CED user is significantly longer when all the prior training they have received is taken into account.
Typically, in other countries CED training is achieved in one day, whereas the UK’s package is three times longer and demands that officers already have the skills and competencies mentioned above before they are allowed to undertake CED training.
But why don’t CED officers get the same amount of training as firearms officers?
A comparison between CED training and firearms training fails to account for the significant difference between the two roles. The standards within CED training are as thorough and robust as firearms training, but the length of the course for firearms is naturally longer because of the complexities and tactics used.
CEDs are laser sighted and simple to load and reload. They can also be used at close ranges (for example, in confined spaces). This compares with a handgun, which uses a conventional sighting system and is used over a greater variety of ranges and positions and has to integrate with a far more complex range of tactical options. As a result of these differences, it takes more time to train and assess an officer’s ability with a handgun.
As the skills required to use a CED are far simpler by comparison with a handgun, the re-examination and training of officers is naturally different. CED training concludes with a robust assessment process that will eliminate officers who do not meet the required standard. Once officers pass this training, they are then assessed every year and, if they do not meet the requirements, they will no longer be allowed to continue to deploy with a CED. It must also be remembered that the length of training is not the best way to judge someone’s ability. Ultimately, it is not about how much training an officer has received, rather it is the standard they must achieve and maintain.