Pubdate: Fri, 03 Sep 1999
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Author: Linda Doherty


The head of NSW police internal affairs, Commander Mal Brammer, has
supported random drug testing to weed out corrupt officers but said the
"rationalisation of resources" meant it may be too expensive.

Mr Brammer said the cost of random testing 13,500 police could prohibit its
implementation and there "may be some industrial complications as well".

Random drug testing using urine samples is opposed by the NSW Police
Association, who say no need has been proven and it is costly and invasive.
The union supports the present system of targeting suspected drug users,
based on police intelligence or tip-offs.

Mr Brammer, speaking before a corruption conference opened in Sydney
yesterday, said: "Certainly the drug issue is a huge influence that the
Police Service and society is facing ... we are representative of the
community just as much as anybody else. We are human beings, we have our
failings, we're not infallible, so therefore we must be eternally vigilant."

Police local area commanders are trimming operational expenditure to carry
the costs of increased police wages, despite the Government handing down a
record $1.5 billion allocation in the Budget.

The Minister for Police, Mr Whelan, said the drug and alcohol evaluation
working party was being reconvened and would meet on September 21 to
evaluate mandatory testing, such as drug and alcohol testing of police at
critical incidents such as police shootings or deaths in custody.

It would also look at the possibility of introducing random drug testing,
the minister's spokesman said.

More than 100 police and anti-corruption experts are attending the eighth
annual Australasian Internal Investigations Conference, which is closed to
the media and public.

Mr Brammer said the Police Service was entitled to use any security measures
to maintain confidentiality and the secrecy of operations. He refused to say
if he had ever ordered checks be made of police telephone records to
identify calls made to journalists.

Sir David O'Dowd, Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales,
said legislation in Western democracies had clamped down on corruption, but
the increased use of intelligence was creating corruption opportunities.

"That means more people have access to it, that means the temptation to sell
it, give it away or indeed for a very wrong reason to be tempted into
providing intelligence for the wrong purposes," he said.

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