Police may face new drug tests
by Nino Bucci
AUSTRALIAN Federal Police officers will be randomly drug tested while off-duty under a radical plan that some fear gives them fewer rights than criminals.
The AFP Association is backing the drug-testing plan as part of a new collective agreement but will push for politicians, judges and medical professionals to be screened for illegal substances as well.
It says its tough stance will demonstrate that its officers are as trustworthy as possible.
Prospective AFP officers would have DNA samples taken before being employed to ensure they had not been involved in an unsolved crime. They would also be subject to more transparent integrity testing.
Association chief executive Jim Torr said members had backed the proposal, but details were still to be negotiated.
He said the public needed confidence that police were not under the influence of drugs or targets for blackmail or corruption because of a drug addiction.
''I don't see why there's not an equal argument for federal politicians, for the judiciary, for surgeons, for the very identical reasons,'' he said.
''The national security commission of cabinet can send people to war. It's a pretty big responsibility and it would be good to know there's no illicit pressures. ''I would be very confident there's not but why not demonstrate it to the people of Australia?