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Drug testing set for

West Australian  police officers

June 27, 2011 – 11:54AM 

Long overdue drug and alcohol testing of West Australian police officers is expected to be introduced by the end of the year, the state’s Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan says.

The commissioner told the WA Police union’s annual conference in Perth today that such a policy change was necessary given that police officers used dangerous equipment such as firearms and often drove vehicles at high speed.

Mr O’Callaghan said proposed changes to the Police Act to allow such testing had been on the table for about 18 years and was still unresolved.

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But he said he had legal advice that testing could be introduced without the need for a law change, through a change in policy with union approval.

“I think every industry has got to have these things in place, not just to protect police officers themselves but to protect members of the public,” the Commissioner said.

“I think it’s reasonable to ask police officers to undergo alcohol and drug tests as a precautionary regime.”

He said the testing regime would be introduced in a priority order with random tests starting for officers who often drove vehicles at high speed and for those using weapons.

The commissioner said if any officers were detected with illegal drugs in their systems they would be removed from the force.

“There’s no tolerance on drugs.”

Alcohol breaches maybe assessed more on a case by case basis, he says.

WA Police Union president Russell Armstrong said he had no problem with introducing drug and alcohol testing for police.

AAP

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