Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Six Gold Coast police officers on steroids 'for no reason'

"Roid rage" behind some police violence?

Six Gold Coast police were found to be using anabolic steroids for no medical reason, the Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiry has been told. The Gold Coast's top cop, Superintendent Jim Keogh, on Tuesday told the Operation Tesco inquiry he suspected some younger officers were using steroids after complaints about excessive use of force during arrests.

Today, counsel assisting the inquiry, John Allen, questioned Queensland Police Services human resources director Patricia Jones about steroid use among police. He told the inquiry that six officers, most working in Surfers Paradise, were prescribed anabolic steroids by one doctor despite having no health problems.

Mr Allen said the officers wanted the steroids to counter tiredness, lethargy or because they 'were just wanting to be bigger'. The steroids would have been illegal if they were not given on prescription, Mr Allen said.

He said a steroid expert interviewed by the CMC said there was a tendency for non-medical users to take high doses and to sometimes mix them with black market steroids or illicit drugs, and some users could become angry and aggressive. Mr Allen suggested it might be 'of concern' that armed police might be using steroids.

Ms Jones said posters were placed in all police stations warning officers about the use of medication. She said officers suspected of being unfit for duty could be ordered to see an independent doctor.

Ms Jones said random drug testing was not carried out by the QPS but since 2005, 13,400 officers and recruits undergone 'reasonable suspicion' tests for drugs and alcohol. Only one positive drug test and four positive alcohol results had been returned, she said.

Ms Jones said random drug testing was estimated to cost about $500,000 a year and there were no plans to introduce it. "For $500,000, I could possibly employ four to five more police officers (so) the question becomes, 'what's the cost benefit?', she said.

Ms Jones said concerns about police abusing medication had to be balanced against privacy issues.


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