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UK police chief: "Drug testing may be really useful"

A BBC documentary explores the effectiveness of drug testing

  • Dave Turner
  • 25 November 2016

The National Police Chiefs' Council has suggested it may be open to the introduction of drug testing, as revealed in BBC Newsbeat's documentary, Clubs, Drugs and Saving Lives.

Commander Simon Bray was shown a clip of a drug testing facility in Switzerland, which tests pills and tells users how strong they are and what's in them, then asked if the UK would consider a similar approach towards drugs such as ectstasy.

Bray said: "We, of course, are very concerned about keeping people safe as much as possible. For me, some form of testing may well be a really useful and practical way forward. I know it's been tried out in a couple of sites at festivals in the UK in conjunction with local police forces. But we're not in the position where we can endorse that yet.

"We're certainly in plenty of discussions [with the Home Office] and we find them very helpful in terms of discussing issues and we've had some discussions around festivals as well as part of that. We will continue to do that and what I'm going to do is bring together a group of people with expertise and I think there's a lot to discuss. Talking about festivals next year, we need to get a move on and have a look at the way 2016 has gone."

The documentary also featured fabric owner Cameron Leslie, speaking after it was announced the club would be reopening, who expressed his wish that front-of-house drug testing would launch at a UK venue soon.

"I was up in Manchester last week at the Warehouse Project looking at Fiona Measham's work which was the back of house testing, which is still obviously very different to the front of house testing which she had in place at Secret Garden Party and certainly what you saw in Switzerland.

"I'd really like to think that's going to happen in a UK venue and I would've thought councils like Manchester who clearly are incredibly progressive in their thoughts would be looking at that. I really want to see it. I hope one day I get to see it in a venue."

The Home Office refused to watch the Newsbeat documentary when asked.

Watch Clubs, Drugs and Saving Lives here.

Dave Turner is Mixmag's Digital News Editor, follow him on Twitter

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