Random drug tests for police

TASMANIA Police is expected to start random drug testing its force for the first time next year.

Tasmania Police can now only be drug tested in targeted and incident-related circumstances.

The force pushed to change that on April 14 last year with the introduction of its new drug and alcohol policy.

Random alcohol testing was introduced as part of the policy, but the introduction of random drug testing is still pending amendments to the Police Service Act 2003.

Tasmania Police acting Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame said amendments to the act to allow random saliva testing in accordance with Australian Standards were expected to occur next year.

Mr Frame said 3200 officers had been alcohol tested since the new policy was introduced last April and no positive results had been returned.

He said there had been five targeted and incident-related drug tests in the same period with no positive results.

‘‘Any police officer detected as being affected by alcohol or other drugs will be provided with support and assistance, but may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and, in the case of illicit drugs, possible legal proceedings,’’ Mr Frame said.

Police Association of Tasmania president Pat Allen said implementing a random drug test policy was something that had to happen.

‘‘We carry guns for a living and drive cars for living … our people should be right on their game all the time,’’ Constable Allen said.

Tasmania Police said last year no specific incidents had led to the introduction of the new policy.

A state government spokesman said the Department of Police and Emergency Management had been consulting on the amendment and expected a bill to be tabled in the first half of next year.

News Ltd reported in October that more Victoria Police officers were being caught using drugs than ever before.

It reported that one in every 66 tests conducted were positive.

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