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Jun 26, 2011

Police union opposes random drug tests for officers.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission carried out Operation Tesco into allegations of problems with some police officers in the Gold Coast region. A number of problem areas were discovered, among them use of drugs and alcohol related matters. As result the Police Commissioner is moving to bring in random alcohol and drug testing.

The police union is determined to fight this matter, claiming that it is too expensive, and would reflect on the integrity of the force, which should be considered to be above reproach. There have been mandatory tests for some time for occasions where there is reasonable suspicion of use, and these have been carried out on a number of occasions.

As a worker in the mining industry I have been subject to random testing for the best part of twenty years and do not have a problem with it although I have to admit I resented it at first as an intrusion. Employers however have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace and having guys operating machinery, or in areas where they need their wits about them, while under the influence of grog or other substances go against this.

Police are employees like most of us, and as such should be subject to the rules like the rest of us. Employers have the right to mandate the behavior of employees in the workplace and have a right to satisfy themselves that it is drug and alcohol free.

Given that police carry guns and drive vehicles in the course of their duties it is imperative that they are clear headed and substance free during their shifts. As this action is the result of an inquiry finding that there is a problem in this area, it is more likely that this action will improve the public perception of the force.

Testing in the workplace varies from place to place. In some places an alcohol test is sprung on you occasionally while in others you blow in the bag as you sign on at the start of shift. Drugs are tested for less regularly but the main deterrent is that it can happen at any time and failing a test results in suspension, loss of wages and loss of job for a repeat offender.


  1. Where does it stop though? Drug testing is becoming so sophisticated that it's not unreasonable to assume that tests in the future could determine if you've taken drugs over the last six months. Why should you be punished for something you did six months ago?
    Also, the government would be required to hold a database on the people they test. We all know how governments love to keep tabs on us.
    I just simply don’t agree with this.

  2. I am talking about workplace testing here. The normal procedure with these is that they are not reportable to authorities and are probably outside the standards required for evidence.

    Police would presumably have a more bureaucratic setup, but hey, thats cops. The thing is, most workers feel more comfortable knowing that the guy coming down the drive underground is not pissed or stoned and are prepared to wear it on that basis.

    It is reasonable for guys who strap on guns in public and go around in high powered cars while getting into volatile situations should be the same way.

    I am against random tests for other situations.

  3. P/s, I have suddenly had about 30 hits from Ireland mainly on this issue. Can you tell me, what all the interest is over there?

  4. The company I work for also conducts random faa drug testing in the workplace. I personally don't have a problem with it! I think it's a very useful tool for all organizations in order to keep illegal drugs away from the workplace.