Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Police should face random drug and alcohol tests, officer tells watchdog

A Senior Gold Coast policeman has called for the introduction of random drug testing for officers and increased alcohol testing. Surfers Paradise police inspector Neil Haslam made the call today at a Crime and Misconduct Commission hearing which has heard evidence of Coast police taking and dealing drugs, drinking on duty and accepting free drinks at nightclubs.

Insp Haslam said random drug testing 'could assist' improve police behaviour and believed the frequency of random alcohol testing needed to be increased. But he rejected a suggestion from the counsel assisting the inquiry, John Allen, that police be drug-tested on every shift. "I'd say (that would be) completely impractical," he said. "Police officers are supposed to be performing their duty in the main, aren't the?. We need to get them out and about."

Insp Halman also said 'bad apples' need to be identified and weeded out while still at the police academy.

The hearing was told a former stripper and drug user had applied to join the Queensland Police Service and that one Gold Coast officer facing criminal charges had been disciplined while training at the academy.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has already announced plans to toughen up recruiting standards.

Insp Haslman told the Operation Tesco hearing he believed there needed to be more rigorous vetting of police recruits. Insp Haslam said improved security checks and a 'zero tolerance ... of integrity failures' were needed to lift recruiting standards.

CMC chairman Martin Moynihan commented that 'one bad apple can have a very serious adverse affect' on the QPS.

Ins Haslam replied: "One bad apple has had a significent affect on the Gold Coast district and that's why we're here today."

Mr Moynihan later said there appeared to be 'more than two or three bad apples' among Gold Coast police.

Insp Haslam: "Mr Chairman, I'm not sure where the bad apples may be or who the bad apples may be with regard to my particular area of responsibility, but there may well be others."

The CMC has said it plans to lay charges against one current and one former officer and eight civilians. Disciplinary action against six officers is also expected to be recommended.


No comments: