Test workers for drugs, says police chief

Sack employees if they fail checks and won't get help, demands Metropolitan Police head

LAST UPDATED AT 13:58 ON Wed 30 Jan 2013

MILLIONS of workers should be tested at their offices and workplaces for illegal drug use to help reduce the demand for banned narcotics, says the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. Employers would not need to turn informant and alert police if the tests revealed an employee was using drugs, he went on. But anyone who failed a test and refused help to "get clean", should be sacked.

In a speech to the all-party parliamentary group on cannabis and children, he said the police crackdown on drug dealers needed to be matched by efforts to cut the demand for drugs.

Hogan-Howe said something needed to be "planted in people's minds" to make them think twice about using drugs. All workers should face tests, but occupations such as teaching, intensive care nursing and transport should come under extra scrutiny because it is vital that workers in these areas are "drug free", he urged.

The Daily Mail said the proposal was certain to trigger "howls of outrage" from trade unions and civil liberties campaigners. But it points out that drug testing in the workplace is "already prevalent and widely accepted" in the US in sectors including retail, finance, manufacturing, education and health.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner's remarks received little support on social media sites today. Remarks ranged from "idiotic" to "impractical" and "maybe he should start with the police".

Andy Tutte, a former drug user who now runs programmes to help users get clean, told BBC Radio 5 Live the use of cannabis and cocaine was a "major issue", but "we need to be very careful before we introduce anything like this. The most important thing … is support and treatment."

Hogan-Howe said parents born in the Sixties and Seventies — when cannabis was weaker — were "failing to warn their children about the dangers of 'super-strength' skunk", the Daily Telegraph reports. When Hogan-Howe was chief constable of Merseyside he was "credited with adopting a zero-tolerance approach" known as "total policing", which included a crackdown on drug dealers. · 

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Yes, what a good idea! Let's fire people and get them onto social support. I'm just glad long-term unemployment is such a small concern that we can afford to kick those with

That would be awesome -sacking 5million cannabis smokers that should bring the country out of recession and lower the demands on the welfare state! Yet another brain dead chucklehead unable to see past his own wishes pound to a penny he is a Christian

'Help to get clean' He must be living in an alternative universe. What help? The lack of available help is a scandal.

This would be an infringement of civil liberties - quoting the US as somewhere that practises this means that basically we ought to do the opposite. I've come to believe lately that Americans are not just being paranoid when they think their government is out to get them, they have far less freedom and are watched far more than we are here in the UK, despite their much-lauded constitution. We may have suffered successive incompetent governments but I really don't think any of the three major parties would be willing to entertain this. Cannabis in particular stays in the body for up to a month after use - and nobody at work is going to dictate to me how I spend my free time.

I certainly think that investment bankers should be randomly (and frequently) tested for cocaine use - this substance can induce excessive euphoria and and an appetite for risk-taking - with OUR money!!!

George Carlin had a perfect hand gesture for these kinds of ideas.

he left the sacking of the employees to the businesses involved. most of you appear to have missed to point. Spending billions of dollars in public money of trying to catch Drug Dealers is a waste of time if the person buying it does not care. By stopping some of the need for the drugs in the Uk then there will be more understanding and emphasis put on helping catch 'the bad guys'. Money can then be channeled into helping people - esp. when businesses realise what a large amount of their workers are using drugs. Possibly large corporations may put money and time into programs to help their people.

It's perhaps not surprising that the Daily Mail is enthusiastic about the proposal. I'm wondering whether they'll set an example to the rest of us by introducing random drug tests for their staff, thus solving the age-old question of what on earth the Mail editorial writers have been smoking most of the time.

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