More custody suites test offenders

The total number of custody suites that can now drug test offenders on arrest has grown to 159 after a further 127 adopted the Cozart RapiScan, an on-site oral drug testing system.

May 5, 2006
By David Howell

The total number of custody suites that can now drug test offenders on arrest has grown to 159 after a further 127 adopted the Cozart RapiScan, an on-site oral drug testing system.

Dr Chris Hand, Managing Director of Cozart said: “In the three months of December, January and February 2006, we saw a two and a half to three-fold increase in the use of our drug test kits in the three police forces (Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester) which began testing on arrest in December 2005. We expect the introduction of the testing of arrestees at 127 new suites to generate a further significant uplift in sales of our unique product Cozart RapiScan.”

The drug testing on arrest initiative is part of the ongoing development of the Home Office Drug Interventions Programme (DIP). The Cozart RapiScan oral fluid drug testing system is the only test procedure used by the Home Office DIP in 175 police custody suites across England and Wales. The programme is designed to identify arrestees using the Class A drugs, heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, and to refer them for treatment.

Northampton is one of 17 police areas that now have new powers to drug test adults who are arrested for trigger offences. Inspector Mike Smith, the lead officer on the implementation of the DIP in Northampton, said: “We have already been drug testing on charge for last 12 months, and have carried out tests on 966 people since the start of April last year. Of that figure, 42 per cent have tested positive for heroin, crack cocaine or both and have been referred on for treatment. We hope during the next year to be testing in the region of 3,000 people.

“The Drug Intervention Programme provides an opportunity for everyone to win – drug-misusing offenders get help through treatment and support, communities suffer less crime and the taxpayer saves money as criminal justice costs are reduced. Figures show that of our persistent offenders, three out of four have misused Class A drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine. We hope this programme will help break the destructive cycle of drugs, offending and prison. The programme has undoubted benefits for those within the police, the courts, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Probation Service who deal with those who misuse drugs.”

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