Force Drug & Alcohol Policy

On the 28th April 2008 the force Drugs and Alcohol testing policy goes live. The following is an extract from Springs Manchat which explains the policies in relation to the matter.
Regulations allowing for the random testing of police officers for alcohol and controlled drugs have been in place since 7th November 2005.
GMP and GMP Federation agreed that before the regulations would be implemented, an agreed policy on an acceptable procedure needed to be formulated.
After much consultation that policy has now been agreed, and was implemented on 28th April 2008.

The policy applies to police officers and special constables. It will in due course apply to police staff also.
The policy is too large to reproduce here in it’s entirety, however links to it can be found on the GMP intranet and Chief Constables Orders.
Testing for alcohol will be by way of a sample of breath, and for drugs by way of a mouth swab.

The regulations introduce a power to test for controlled drugs or alcohol as follows:
• Candidates for appointment to police forces ( other than direct transfers between forces)
• Student officers (police probationers)
• Officers in safety critical roles as determined by the Secretary of State
• Officers whose work puts them in a vulnerable position because of a specific responsibility for dealing with drugs
• Serving officers who give cause to suspect that a controlled drug has been abused

Safety critical roles in GMP have been defined as:
• Firearms officers authorised to use firearms or directly supervising such officers
• Members or supervisors of POLSA teams
• Police divers, drivers and motorcyclists authorised by the Chief Constable to use the police exemption under the Road Traffic Regulation act 1986 and holding positions in which they may be called upon to use that exemption
• Other posts considered as possibly safety critical such as Firearms Gold or Silver Command – i.e.
ACCs Supt’s Firearms Cadre officers and Force Duty officers
Vulnerable roles in GMP have been defined as:
• Undercover officers
• Test purchasers
• Drug unit officers
• Divisional drug unit officers

Officers should expect that if they are tested positive for controlled non prescription drugs they are likely to be subject to misconduct proceedings, please refer to the policy document via the intranet link for full details.

The regulations state that an officer is unfit to be in the workplace if they have more than 13ugs alcohol in their expired breath (equivalent to 29mg per 100ml blood). It is worth noting here that the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle is 35ugs.

An officer who is positively tested for alcohol may or may not find themselves subjected to misconduct proceedings, dependant on the circumstances. GMP Professional Standards Branch (Y) has provided the following guide:

Misconduct implications for alcohol testing positive results
All officers working in safety critical roles must take personal responsibility at all times for ensuring they are fit for work when required and are not affected by alcohol.
Where an officer in a safety critical role is tested for alcohol and found to have a reading higher than 13 ugs this will not however automatically result in further investigation or the institution of misconduct procedures.

It is understood that a reading of 13ugs whilst this could impair an officers judgement or ability to carry out certain tasks is a relatively low level of intoxication and it may that an officer is unaware of the impairment or the effects of this level of alcohol in the blood stream.
The most common scenario would be the after effects of consuming alcohol the night before which may linger in the blood for longer than expected or have a greater affect than expected the following day after a period of rest.

In circumstances where an officer supplies a positive result between 13 and 20 ugs the officers line manager must ensure that the circumstances of the alcohol reading are discussed with the officer. If the line manager is satisfied the circumstances have been explained then formal advice should be issued to the officer.
The officer should be temporarily redeployed for the period of impairment to a non-safety critical role and the advice given should include a warning that a second positive test in the future could result in formal misconduct proceedings and or permanent redeployment into a non-safety critical role.
If a second positive test is supplied within a twelve month period this will treated as serious and the matter will be dealt with by the professional standards branch as outlined below. Where the time period between the first test and a second positive test exceeds 12 months then guidance from the professional standards branch must be sought before any further action is taken.

Officers who supply samples with readings of between 20 and above when tested will be removed from the safety critical role and redeployed. The circumstances will, and then be fully investigated by officers from the professional standards branch.

The investigation could result in a permanent removal from a safety critical role and or formal misconduct proceedings. Alternatively following investigation the officer may return to the safety critical role if in all the circumstances it is decided the matter can be dealt with by means of formal advice as for lower readings.
In these circumstances a second reading above 13 ugs in the next twelve months will result in either permanent redeployment and or formal misconduct proceedings.

Self Declaration
It should always be open to an officer to declare that they suspect they might have inadvertently exceeded the limit. Any such declaration should be made before the officer is notified of any requirement to take a test. Such declarations should not result in the officer being penalised, provided there is no pattern of continuing excess. A declaration may be particularly appropriate in circumstances of an unexpected change of duty, for example being allocated to driving duties involving possible use of the police exemptions under the Road Traffic Act, due to a staff shortage, or a change of shift whereby the officer is warned at short notice to work an earlier shift.

If you need help or guidance in relation to alcohol and drug testing please contact the Federation Office at Progress House. Alternatively your HR Manager.
Jim Purves

Discipline Leader
The force have also produced a booklet that also explains matters - view it here
There is also a FAQ documents available here

  • Broadstone Hall Road South, Reddish, Stockport, SK5 7DE
  • Tel: 0161 355 4400       Fax: 0161 355 4410
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.