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Are the police being policed when it comes to drug and alcohol testing in Tasmania?

Policing the police for drug and alcohol testing in Tasmania

Next time you’re stopped by the police in Tasmania to undergo drug or alcohol testing, you might wonder whether there is anyone policing the police. In other words, do Tasmania police officers also have to undergo drug and alcohol testing?

The simple answer is that the police in Tasmania – and indeed in most other parts of Australia – do have to undergo drug and alcohol testing. Which is fair enough, because the job they do is not only important, but requires tasks that are a safety priority and would leave themselves and members of the public at risk if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The drug and alcohol testing for Tasmania police offices is conducted under the Alcohol and other Drugs Policy for Tasmanian Police Officers, which came into effect in 2014. The policy aims to promote the responsible use of alcohol, prescription medication and licit drugs by Tasmania Police officers.

“Under the policy, a program of random, targeted and incident-related alcohol testing will be undertaken,” said Tasmania Police Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard in 2014. “There will also be targeted and incident-related drug testing; random drug testing will be introduced pending amendments to the Police Service Act,” said Mr Tilyard. The random drug testing of police offices was introduced more recently, in June 2016, after legislation was cleared in the state’s Upper House.

“There has always been a requirement that police officers on duty, availability or standby for recall to duty are not to be affected by alcohol or drugs. Under the Policy ‘affected by alcohol’ is determined to be in excess of 0.02 grams of alcohol. This allows a level of discretion and flexibility.

“There is of course a zero tolerance on the illicit use of drugs,” Mr Tilyard said.

“Our obligations are also a legislative requirement – under the Workplace Safety legislation, we have a responsibility to eliminate or minimise risk in the workplace and this is one of those strategies. We also have an obligation to the community we serve to be free from impairing substances while on duty,” said Mr Tilyard.

Drug and alcohol testing in Tasmania’s workplaces

The last statements by Mr Tilyard are interesting and reflect what we tell business owners and managers. That is, if you have obligations under Workplace Safety legislation then one of the ways you need to be minimising risks in your workplace is by managing drugs and alcohol.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you will need to introduce drug and alcohol testing in your Tasmanian workplace – it will depend on the risks your employees face – but in many cases drug and alcohol testing as part of your management plan is a must.

If you’d like to know more about your obligations and how you can protect your business, give us a call on 1300 725 482. Integrity Sampling conducts drug and alcohol testing in Tasmania, including Hobart, Devonport and Launceston. To find out more, see our Integrity Sampling Tasmania page.

IMAGE CAPTION:

Are the police being policed when it comes to drug and alcohol testing in Tasmania? Credit Jon Candy https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncandy/8372078124/ and Wendy Harman https://www.flickr.com/photos/quirky/6526354183/.

Michael

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Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Thomastown and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs.You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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