A drugs market problem profile is expected to be delivered in May 2022, which will re-assess the threat, risk, and harm of the illicit drugs markets to SouthYorkshire.
A report to South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Comissioner, Dr Alan Billings, states that the force “intends to train additional drug expert witnesses, to increase capacity in this area and make them more available to ease the burden on those already performing the role.”
Drug expert witnesses often provide expert evidence and advice relating to substances and the drug trade during court trials.
The force has trained an additional four officers as drug expert witnesses, and plans to train a further 16, at a cost of £5,000.
The force is currently trialling the use of drug expert witnesses as part of the Sheffield Fortify team, which tackles organised criminality.
If successful the scheme could be rolled out across Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.
The training is the next step in the force’s crackdown on the drugs market – extra drug testing equipment has been purchased, a part of Operation Aspect, which aims to raise awareness of police powers in relation to drug testing on arrest.
Extra hours were funded to ensure there were enough officers to drug test suspects upon arrest.
South Yorkshire Police are also hoping to invest in a chemical analysis kit, in the hopes it will save cash on forensic testing and “speed up the criminal justice process”.