​Taser has been available in the UK as a less-lethal option for police since 2003. We first issued Taser to non-firearms officers in 2009. 

We have created this page to help provide information about the Taser, how we train our officers and how it is used within the Humberside Policing area.

We have a rigorous training programme for all officers who are selected as Taser Officers, which is designed to provide them with an enhanced understanding of the National Decision Model and Human Rights legislation, as well as providing instruction on the safe operation of the devices.  Officers are required to maintain their operational competence in the use of Taser.

We have clearly defined policies to help manage our day-to-day deployment of Taser.  Trained supervisors make decisions on whether to send Taser trained officers to incidents where there is an increased risk of injury by using the National Decision Model.

A Taser scrutiny panel has also been set up to provide independent scrutiny of our use of Taser within the Humberside policing area. 

Training and Scrutiny

All officers wishing to become specially trained Taser officers go through a rigorous selection procedure prior to even attending the course.

All officers have to complete a Taser selection booklet, which requires that they apply for permission from their direct line supervising Sergeant. They should complete a full assessment including their physical fitness, maturity, personality and temperament suitable to carrying Taser.

The booklet is then forwarded to the officers Inspector, Professional Standards and Occupational Health for an assessment of their suitability.

Successful candidate’s booklets are sent to the Commander for their area of work for final approval.

Once the final approval has been made the officer then has to attend an intensive three day training course to become qualified as a Taser user.

The national Taser guidelines have been set out by the College of Policing and the course has been designed by Taser trainers before being approved and signed off by the Chief Firearms Instructor within Humberside Police.

All the Taser trainers within Humberside Police are Operational Taser Officers who have then either completed the National Lead Taser instructors course or the internal Taser trainers’ course.

Initial Taser Course

This intensive course covers the following aspects:

  • How to use Taser: This is taught through presentations, drills, qualification shoots and through practical scenarios.
  • Deployments: Officers have in-depth lessons on the National Decision Model, domestic law and Human Rights.  They also have lessons on rationale, tactical options, communications skills and implications of use.  These lessons are re-enforced using realistic practical scenarios.
  • Post incident procedures: Officers are taught about how to retrieve and record evidence and after care procedures.

The officers on the course are continuously assessed throughout, there are three formal assessments that they must pass.

  • Qualification shoot: This is a nationally set range discipline which tests accuracy, handling and safe use of Taser.
  • Written exam: This is a nationally set exam with officers having to achieve 80% to pass.
  • Practical scenarios: These are set by Taser lead instructors and authorised by the chief firearms instructor and there is a set criteria officers have to reach in order to pass.

Refresher Training

Officers have to attend an annual one day refresher course designed by the college of policing and Humberside Lead instructors, this is a pass or fail course and includes the following;

  • A regional and national update, including any lessons learnt and new or emerging issues.
  • Qualification shoot: This is a nationally set range discipline which tests accuracy, handling and safe use of Taser.
  • Written exam: This is a nationally set exam with officers having to achieve 80% to pass.
  • Practical scenarios: These are set by Taser lead instructors and authorised by the chief firearms instructor and there is a set criteria officers have to reach in order to pass.


Each time an officer draws their Taser from the holster, they have to complete a Home Office designed use of force form.  The officers also have to bring the use of Taser to the attention duty Inspector, who dependant on the nature of the incident, can bring this to the attention of the force Senior Management Team via the morning briefing.

The Home Office form is submitted to the Taser Single Point of Contact (SPOC), who scrutinises the form. There are two Taser SPOC’s who are experienced Taser users and also qualified Taser lead instructors.

Each month, senior management within Humberside’s Joint Special Operations Unit are sent a number of randomly selected Home Offices forms to quality assure.

Humberside Police with then use an independent scrutiny panel to look at Taser use.

Scrutiny Panel

The scrutiny panel was form in December 2015 it currently has 15 member and is totally independent of Humberside Police.  The panel which meets on a regular basis has a remit for independent scrutiny of all Taser use by Humberside Police.


  • Every Taser is signed for and checked prior to issue which each officer signing to say they are fit to carry Taser for that shift.
  • Every Taser has a dataport which records its use when activated in anyway, this can’t be overwritten and is checked and saved after each firing. Every     operational Taser is downloaded every 8 weeks.
  • Each cartridge has its own unique serial number and must be signed in and out of the Taser safes by the officer who takes it.
  • Post incident procedure is set nationally and each officer must follow it in order to achieve the best evidence.

Taser Explained

Brief History

Jack Cover was the inventor of the TASER device during 1966-1974.  As a chief scientist for the NASA Apollo Moon Landing Program, Jack responded to President Johnson’s Blue Ribbon Commission’s call for development of less-lethal weapons. Thomas A swift was a fictional character in the science fiction books read by Cover as a boy, and was the inspiration for the name of the device he invented. During the development of the “TASER”, it was discovered that very short duration, high energy, pulses were non-lethal and non-injurious, but had a profound physiological and psychological effect upon both humans and animals.  In the 1971-74 period, tests on volunteers were done under the supervision of Dr. Frank Summers with two cardiologists, a physiologist, EKG and other instrumentation at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange County, CA.           

In 2002, TASER conducted further studies to refine the NMI waveforms.  The result is Shaped Pulse Technology, complex waveforms that achieve the NMI effect at much lower power levels than the M26. 

In 2003 the first Shaped Pulse weapon, the TASER X26 was introduced.  Advanced Shaped Pulse Technology makes the X26 5% more powerful than the M26, yet 60% smaller and lighter

Taser is a hand held, single shot Less-Lethal weapon, designed to temporarily incapacitate a subject using an electrical current.

In 2018 Humberside moved onto a new device the Taser X2 this is a two shot device where the Taser houses two cartridges at the front of the device. It has very similar characteristics as the X26.

The Taser X2 is the only model used by Humberside Police and is designed to allow officers to deal with violent or potentially violent incidents at a distance.

The Tasers are worn overtly in a highly visible position either on the officers belt or body armour.

Taser works on both the psychological and physiological level:


Taser is highly visible, it is yellow in colour and is worn overtly by all officers.  The Taser has two laser aiming dots, when activated it clearly warns the subject that the weapon is being pointed at them. Officers are also trained where possible to give clear warnings to any subject. Taser can also be ‘arched’ which also gives a visible and audible warning to any subject.

 In the vast majority of incidents, it is not necessary to draw the weapon or if drawn to discharge it. This is due to its highly visible presence and due to extensive press and social media publicity leading most subjects being aware of the effects of Taser.  As a result of this most incidents are resolved without any use of force by officers.

When the Taser X2 is discharged, it delivers a number of high voltage but short duration pulses. These pulses interfere with the body’s neuromuscular system and brings about a temporary incapacitation. The Tasers voltage peaks at 50,000 volts, but this is considerably less when it reaches the body. Although the volts are high the amps are low.

When discharged the Taser fires two barbs from its cartridge, attached to the weapon by conductive wire. The barbs can cause some minor puncture wounds, but all Taser officers are trained in after care post deployment.

Taser Terminology

  • Red Dot: The Taser has a laser system which allows the officer to illuminate the subject with two red dots. This allows the officer to take better aim, but also ensures the subject knows they have a Taser pointed at them.
  • Arcing: This is a show of strength option for the officer. With the cartridge removed the officers can activate the weapon. The electric current sparks between the contact points giving an audible and visual warning to the subject.
  • Cartridges: These are attached to the front of the weapon and contain two barbs attached by conductive wires.  This allows the electrical current to travel from the weapon to the subject. The cartridges are individually marked and contain identification discs.
  • Three point contact: This is used when a Taser has been discharge close to a subject.  The Taser is then moved and placed against another part of the body in order to achieve temporary incapacitation. This tactic will be used only when the officer can’t discharge form a distance.