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Armed Forces Act 2006

Chapter 1 – Testing for Alcohol and Drugs

592.These sections authorise testing for drugs and alcohol to be carried out in specified circumstances on persons who are subject to service law, and, in some cases, on civilians subject to service discipline. The results of such tests are not admissible as evidence in proceedings for a service offence. These sections do not limit the statutory powers to test for alcohol and or drugs under PACE or the Road Traffic Act 1988; nor do they affect the admissibility of evidence obtained under those statutes in any proceedings.

Section 305: Testing for drugs

593.Subsection (1) enables a drug testing officer to require a person subject to service law to provide a sample of his urine to test for controlled drugs. This creates a statutory power to underpin the operation of a random drug testing programme under which all members of HM Forces, regardless of rank or rate, are subject to periodic random testing. There is no requirement for a person to be suspected of drug misuse before a urine sample can be demanded.

594.Subsection (2) provides that the power may not be exercised in connection with the investigation of an offence or of an incident giving rise to the power in section 306, nor where the drug testing officer (or his CO) is the CO of the person to be tested.

595.Subsection (3) makes it an offence to fail to comply with a requirement to provide a urine sample under this section.

Section 306: Testing for alcohol and drugs after a serious incident

596.This section provides a power to require a person who is subject to service law, or a civilian who is subject to service discipline, to provide a sample for alcohol or drugs testing where there has been a serious incident and where, in the opinion of the person exercising the power, the person to be tested may have caused or contributed to it. This power enables evidence of drug or alcohol consumption to be obtained in order to assist a service inquiry (section 343) to determine whether such consumption or use might have been a factor in the incident. “Drug” and “sample” are defined in section 307.

597.Subsection (1) specifies that an incident falls within this section if in the opinion of the officer it resulted in, or created a risk of, death or serious injury, or of serious damage to property.

598.Subsection (3) specifies that the power is exercisable by the CO of the person to be tested, and subsection (6) provides that the Defence Council may make regulations providing for its exercise to be delegated.

599.Subsection (4) provides that it is an offence for a person to fail to comply with a requirement imposed under this section without reasonable excuse.

Section 307: Definitions etc for purposes of section 306

600.This section defines certain expressions used in section 306. Subsection (2) defines “drug” to mean either a controlled drug (within the meaning of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) or any other drug specified by the Secretary of State.

601.Subsection (3) provides that “sample” means a sample of urine or breath where it is required to test for alcohol; that it means a sample of urine where it is required to test for drugs; and that, in either case, it includes any other sample specified by the Secretary of State by order.

602.Subsections (4) and (5) provide that the Secretary of State may not specify an invasive sample, such as blood or semen, under subsection (3), and that the person being tested must consent to the taking of any sample so specified by the Secretary of State.

Section 308: Sections 305 and 306: supplementary

603.This section authorises the Defence Council to make regulations governing the obtaining and analysis of samples under this Chapter. It provides that such regulations may deal with a number of procedural matters such as the number of times a person may be required to provide a sample, the procedures employed to analyse samples, and the training and qualifications of those persons carrying out such analysis.

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