According to the New Zealand Police website, it employs over 13,000 people. Photo/NZPA
No member of New Zealand’s police force – which numbers more than 13,000 – has tested positive for illicit drugs in the past three years.
It comes after it was revealed 62 members
New Zealand Defense Force had tested positive for class A, B or C drugs during the same period.
READ MORE: How often have defense force personnel tested positive for illegal drugs
Class A drugs are considered very high risk and include methamphetamine, magic mushrooms, cocaine, heroin and LSD (acid).
Class B drugs are high risk and include cannabis oil, hashish, morphine, opium, ecstasy and many amphetamine-like substances.
Class C drugs, on the other hand, pose a moderate risk and include the cannabis plant, cannabis seeds, and codeine.
The Director of Life Safety Police Superintendent Mel Aitken, via a response to the Official Information Act, said his drug and alcohol policy is focused on testing at key times like at recruitment or after a critical incident, as well as on testing key work groups where an impairment would be “particularly risky” to themselves or the public.
No staff member had tested positive for illegal drugs between January 1, 2019 and November 9, 2021, but four staff members had been terminated for gross misconduct “for any cause whatsoever”, it said. revealed Director of Integrity and Conduct, Superintendent Jason Guthrie in a separate statement. OIA response. It consists of two constables, a sergeant and a non-constable employee.
According to the New Zealand Police website, it employs over 13,000 people. There were 10,093 full-time officers as of October 31, 2021, an OIA revealed, including 773 in the Bay of Plenty district.
Aitken said the total number of employees tested for drugs in a year was only a small proportion of their total number.
“Generally, staff are aware that they will be tested when or in these working groups when they commit to these roles.
“Generally we find that our staff are keen to comply with the rules they understand are in place to keep them and the public we serve safe.”
No tests were under investigation as of January 25, 2022 and New Zealand Police have not carried out random tests.
Instead, there were four categories of drug and alcohol testing:
• Pre-hiring: A test before hiring;
• Critical Incident (Police): For officers involved in a critical incident where they discharged a firearm or where their actions may have contributed to death or life-threatening injuries;
• Reasonable cause: if necessary;
• Designated Task Forces (Mountain): at least once every two years for Special Tactical Group, Armed Offender Squad, Airport Police and Operational Dog Handlers.
Meanwhile, before the policy was introduced on October 1, 2019, drug testing was only done after critical incidents.
Aitken said the policy focuses on prevention and rehabilitation, and each case is treated individually and there is no “one size fits all” approach.
“The police drug and alcohol policy has been developed to protect the well-being of all employees, and the integrity, reputation and effectiveness of the New Zealand Police.
“It is important to note that the policy is focused on testing at key times, such as on recruitment or after a critical incident, as well as testing of key work groups where such an impairment would be particularly risky to themselves. or for the public.
“While an employee may need to go down a disciplinary route and termination may be necessary in some circumstances, a rehabilitative approach will be taken where possible.”
Police Association President Chris Cahill said it was “naive” to conclude from the data that no police personnel had used illegal drugs.
He also said there was no evidence drug use was a problem within the police, so the test results were not “particularly surprising”.
“However, we also accept that there are a small number of employees being tested, so while this indicates that the issue is not widespread, we accept that this does not mean that there is no isolated incidents.”
Cahill said the association would encourage a wellness-based approach if anyone in the workforce was concerned about their own or someone else’s drug use.
“They should talk it over with the person first, to see if they need help or support, or alternatively with wellness,” he said.
“The policy provides for a rehabilitative approach. If there is a risk that a person may not be safe at work, it should be immediately reported to a supervisor or superior.
“If there are legitimate concerns about criminal offenses such as possession or supply, there are obviously internal avenues for that too.”
Elsewhere, it was reported last month that 62 NZDF members had tested positive for class A, B or C drugs and some for a combination of illegal drugs after more than 8,000 tests carried out between 2019 and December 14, 2021 .
Penalties ranged from fines, detentions, demotions and, in five cases, dismissal.
Details of an Official Information Act request to the NZDF revealed the service, location, drug class and punishment of each member who tested positive.
In 2019, a member of the military in Tauranga tested positive for a Class B drug and was sentenced to 16 days in custody.
In 2020, a member of the military in Rotorua tested positive for a class C drug and was fined $250 and 14 days in detention.
And in 2021, two members of the military in Pāpāmoa tested positive for a class B drug, one being fined and reprimanded for $1304.10 and the other 18 days in detention.