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Police custody suite drug testing gets a £630,000 boost in Hampshire

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have initiated a new drug testing drive through police custody suites with funding of £630,000. The Police and Crime Commissioner provided £480,950 of this from the Drug Confiscation Fund (DCF), while the remaining £150,000 came from the Home Office.


This funding, which forms part of the Drug Testing on Arrest (DToA) scheme, enables four custody centres in the mentioned regions to recruit, train and appoint testing support officers. The training aims to broaden the skillsets of substance misuse workers and includes things such as identifying the pressure points of domestic abuse, initiating the right conversations and providing holistic support.


The funding will carry this project through to the end of 2024 and also equip authorities to follow a multi-agency approach. By working with partners, such as drug testing specialists and residential treatment facilitators, the core issues can be addressed.


Pivotal role of police custody suite drug testing


As there is a clear link between drug misuse and criminal acts, drug testing upon arrest helps to identify problem drug users and provides an entry point to commence support and treatment. This is especially relevant in the case of trigger crimes such as stealing, whether it is burglaries, armed robberies or auto thefts.


Should an offender test positive for an illegal substance, authorities can perform a drug assessment. This is a wider outreach than just testing for and confirming drug misuse. It gives offenders and their loved ones a chance to access treatment-specific community support programmes in an attempt to eradicate all social problems and stem the cyclic tide.


Studies show that a holistic approach such as this helps to address root causes and facilitate actual change. So, it will not only reduce drug dependency but also bring down associated crime occurrences.


Through these tests, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary will also shine a brighter light on drug use trends and associated crime patterns. This, in turn, will inform crimefighting strategies for the future and enable the police to cast a wider net when it comes to drug trafficking.


Importance of accurate and fast custody suite testing


When performing drug testing upon arrest, it is important to use testing products that deliver reliable results in minutes. If authorities have to wait hours or days for outcomes, that initial contact and instigation of support will fall through the cracks.


The Matrix multi-drug dip cards, for example, are an economical yet effective method that delivers results within five minutes. Authorities can also scan for up to 10 different drugs through a single urine test. Rapid testing helps with timely, streamlined processes.


The Police and Crime Commissioner set up a Pan Hampshire Combating Drugs Board in support of the stated national drug strategy. This confirms the region’s commitment to crack down on supply chains.


This initiative is part of the UK’s 10-year drug strategy, From Harm to Hope. More than £3bn was made available in support of this drive, which focuses on treatment, recovery and a decrease in drug demands, for the period up to 2025.

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