Officer’s drug test shame

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A SOUTH Yorkshire police officer tested positive for drugs in a random test, it has been revealed.

The officer, who has not been named, was one of 27 officers from across the country who failed the tests carried out between September 2008 and September last year.

Tests for illegal drugs are carried out by forces to ensure the integrity of their officers when performing their duties.

A total of 13,157 officers nationwide were tested for drugs, including cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines.

In South Yorkshire 736 tests were carried out.

The only officers eligible for random testing, other than when bosses have suspicions about drug abuse, are those who have access to or use firearms.

But last year a Police Advisory Board working party, made up from staff associations, the Association of Police Authorities, the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers, recommended the pool of officers eligible for random testing should be widened to include anyone dealing with explosives or Tasers, as well as anyone who can drive a vehicle.

Chief Superintendent Ian Kennedy, a divisional commander at West Yorkshire Police, who sat on the Police Advisory Board, said it would be easier if all officers were subject to random tests.

He said: “At the moment, the proposed changes must take it to around 98 per cent of officers who are eligible for testing.”

Steve Smith, deputy general secretary of the Police Federation, the union which represents rank and file bobbies, said all new applicants to the police service should be tested for drugs.

“That will stop anybody who may have a drug problem from coming in and it would also ensure police officers are clean from day one,” he said.

South Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Bob Dyson said: “We take such matters seriously and test all new people who apply to join the police service, as officers or Special Constables.

“In our one positive test of a serving officer, the individual appeared before a misconduct hearing and was sanctioned, including being placed under a testing regime.

“The taking of illicit drugs is against the law. My expectation is our staff do not indulge in the taking of illegal substances. We will take action when such cases arise.”