Suffolk: Drug testing on arrest pilot begins in Suffolk

OFFENDERS in Suffolk could be subject to drug testing in custody in a bid to identify users and reduce crime, as part of a new pilot.

Targeted Drug Testing on Arrest is funded by the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) and was put in place at the Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for a six-month period on Wednesday.

The initiative involves criminal justice and drug treatment providers working together with other services to provide a tailored solution for adults, particularly those who misuse Class ‘A’ drugs and who commit crime to fund their drug misuse.

Tessa Lindfield NHS Suffolk’s director of public health said: “This project is an exciting development for Suffolk. We know that if you treat addiction you improve health as well as cutting crime to keep Suffolk safe.

“This project tests people at a time when they may be more open to accepting treatment for their addiction and will help steer them towards the help they need to stop using drugs.”

Once implemented anyone arrested for offences that research shows to be linked with the use of Class A drugs such as theft, burglary and handling stolen goods will be tested for drugs.

The police have the power to request a mouth swab to test adults arrested or charged with any ‘trigger offence’ for the presence of the specified Class A drugs, heroin and or cocaine/crack.

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The police can also test those arrested for or charged with any other offence when a police officer, of at least inspector rank, authorises the taking of a sample on the basis of having reasonable grounds to suspect that misuse of any specified Class A drug caused or contributed to the offence.

The result of the test is known within five minutes and a confirmation test can be requested, with results being known within five days.

Where the test is positive, the detainee is legally required to attend and remain at a required assessment with someone from the local Criminal Justice Integrated Team (CJIT). The CJIT worker will help the drug user seek treatment and other support.

Failure to take a drug test without good cause is a criminal offence, as is the failure by an individual who has tested positive to attend and remain at a Required Assessment.

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