Officers to be drug and alcohol tested
POLICE officers in Suffolk will face random drug and alcohol testing within the next few weeks it emerged today.The force has been working to introduce a substance misuse testing programme for the past year and is now in the final stages of agreeing who will administer the scheme.
POLICE officers in Suffolk will face random drug and alcohol testing within the next few weeks it emerged today.
The force has been working to introduce a substance misuse testing programme for the past year and is now in the final stages of agreeing who will administer the scheme.
Home Office guidelines indicated that forces nationwide had to have a strategy for substance testing in place by January 1 and testing should begin soon after.
Superintendent John Everett, head of professional standards for Suffolk police, said: “We will be testing probationers (new officers), and those in what are designated as safety critical posts, things like response drivers, firearms officers and search officers.
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“They can be tested for controlled drugs and those in safety critical posts can also be tested for alcohol on a random basis.”
Suffolk Police Authority set aside £10,000 of its budget for 2006/07 to implement testing of officers carrying out “critical duties” in a bid to increase public protection and confidence in the force.
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Supt Everett added: “It is a precautionary thing really but it is also a welfare issue.
“If someone has a drug problem the primary thing is their welfare so they should contact occupational health and seek the necessary health and support.”
Posters are currently being agreed with the Police Federation so the force can advertise the testing programme.
The force has been able to test new recruits since 2003 but the legislation has now been extended.
Anyone testing positive for controlled drugs will be subject to the force's normal disciplinary procedures.
Supt Everett said an outside agency will conduct testing in Suffolk and the force's human resources department is currently in the process of reaching an agreement with those who will conduct the tests.
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