Victorian police are to face tough new drug tests that can detect illicit substances taken up to six weeks earlier.
Legislation introduced by the state government this week provides for hair testing, the testing of officers while off duty, target-testing of entire divisions or areas of the force and testing of unsworn Victoria Police members.
The strengthened testing regime comes a week after police swooped on a Moonee Ponds anti-ageing and sports medicine clinic suspected of supplying steroids to officers in the special operations group.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said no other employer was able to drug test their employees while they were on leave, but the beefed-up measures would ensure the integrity of the force.
He said very few officers had tested positive for illicit substances, and when they did it was often because other police had reported their suspicions and not as a result of random testing.
”Is it fair someone can get a knock at the door while they’re on leave and be tested for drugs?” Senior Sergeant Davies said.
”You would have to think that would only happen in extreme circumstances, but does it happen to people in other jobs? It should give the public absolute confidence … in their police.”
Random drug tests using urine samples were introduced five years ago and have detected cocaine, steroids, cannabis, heroin and amphetamines. Hair testing was first suggested in February.
Alcohol testing has also taken place when a force member is suspected of having a problem with alcohol or after a critical incident such as a high-speed chase or shooting. Police will not be able to be tested for alcohol while off duty.
Under the legislation, public servants can be drug tested only if they are employed in a ”designated work unit”, which includes working in property areas that deal with seized weapons and drugs, the Forensic Services Centre and information technology.
Public servants will be randomly tested.