FOLLOWING our report on the arrest of a suspect in Cumbria and the utilisation of tasers during that arrest, here's a factfile on taser use in the UK.

* Tasers – known also as conductive electrical devices (CEDs) - have been used by British police officers since 2003. Initially, they were used by only trained firearms officers.

* From 2008, they have been available to all front-line officers provided they have completed relevant training.

* The Home Office has authorised taser use for trained officers ”in violent or potentially violent situations where it is considered necessary to use force to protect the public, themselves, or the subject [suspect].”

* Tasers work by firing two metal barbs attached to a wire, which after penetrating the target’s skin are used to deliver an electrical charge.

* They discharge a 50,000 volt electrical charge, and are designed to temporarily incapacitate a person, in most cases causing them to fall to the ground. The charge should be applied for no more than five seconds.

* Official guidance states that "any use of the taser must be proportionate, lawful, accountable and absolutely necessary." 

* Where a person has underlying health problems, such as a heart condition, there is evidence to suggest tasering potentially increases the risk of heart failure.

* Amnesty International says it documented 334 taser-related deaths over seven-year period (2001-Sep 08), though in some of those deaths tasers were an important contributory rather than the sole factor.

* The Independent Police Complaints Commisison (replaced by the IOPC) has warned of taser "mission creep" - use of the device "because it is available", rather than "because it is necessary".