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Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006

Arrested persons: drug testing and reference for assessment

Section 84 – Testing of arrested persons for Class A drugs

183.Section 84 inserts new sections 20A and 20B into the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

184.Section 20A provides that the police may test a person for a relevant Class A drug if he or she has been arrested under suspicion of committing a relevant offence. The relevant offences are listed in subsection (8). A person who has been arrested under suspicion of committing any other offence which is not a relevant offence can also be tested at the discretion of a senior police officer if he or she believes that misuse of a Class A drug caused or contributed to the offence. Subsection (8) provides that the Class A drugs that will be tested for are cocaine and diamorphine (heroin). Subsection (2) provides that the police cannot test a person for a relevant Class A drug if that person has already given a sample for testing after they have been brought to a police station. However, subsection (5) sets out that a further sample can be taken if the original is not suitable for analysis, was insufficient or was destroyed during the testing process.

185.Subsection (3) sets out the conditions which must be met before a person is tested for a relevant Class A drug. A sample must also be taken or provided within 6 hours of that person being brought to a police station. To allow for the policy to be rolled out to particular parts of Scotland and in stages, a sample can only be taken if the Scottish Ministers have made an order by statutory instrument which states that mandatory drugs tests can be carried out in the area in which the police station is located. Such an order will be subject to negative resolution procedure of the Parliament.

186.Subsection (7) makes it an offence for an arrestee to refuse to comply with a drugs test under these powers if required to do so. The maximum penalties for committing this offence are set out in subsection (6). A constable is required to warn a person of this fact under subsection (4). When a person has been arrested for an offence (other than a relevant offence), a constable must also inform that person that a senior police officer has authorised him or her to take a sample, or to require that person to provide a sample. A person must also be told of the reasons why a senior police officer suspects that a Class A drug has been taken.

187.Section 20B supplements section 20A of the 1995 Act. Subsections (4) and (5) set out procedures which must be followed if a senior police officer decides that a person should be tested for a class A drug. Subsection (7) imposes a requirement to destroy a sample which has been taken under section 20A. Subsection (8) provides an exception to this, allowing retention of a sample for the purposes of prosecution under section 88 of this 2006 Act (for failing to attend and stay for the duration of assessments) – in this case the sample needs to be retained to be produced in court, but must be destroyed as soon as possible once it is not longer needed for any proceedings. Subsection (9) also sets down what the information gathered through a mandatory drugs test can be used for. Subsection (10) provides that the Scottish Ministers can add to or vary the lists of trigger offences and of relevant Class A drugs. Such an order will be made by statutory instrument and will be subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

Section 85 – Assessment following positive test under section 20A of the 1995 Act

188.This section provides that an individual who has tested positive for a relevant Class A drug will be required to attend a drugs assessment with a suitably qualified drugs assessor. A person will be required to remain at that assessment for its duration. Section 85 also provides that the purpose of the drugs assessment is to establish whether or not the person is dependent on or has a propensity to misuse Class A drugs and whether or not they may benefit from assistance or treatment.

Section 86 – Requirements under section 85: supplementary

189.This section sets out the duties which are imposed on the police when a person is required to attend a mandatory assessment into their drug misuse. A constable must inform a person where the assessment will take place and advise them that they are required to attend that place within 7 days and during certain times in order to obtain details of their appointment. A constable is also required to inform a person that a failure to attend the assessment centre to obtain details of their appointment, attend the assessment or remain there for its duration will constitute an offence (subsection (3)). These duties must be carried out before the person who is required to attend the assessment is released from custody.

Section 87 – Date, time and place of assessment

190.This section sets out the requirements on a drugs assessor when a person reports to the assessment location to receive details of their appointment. The drugs assessor is required to notify the person in writing of the date, time and place of the drugs assessment. Subsection (3) provides that a drugs assessor is required to provide the person with written notice of any change to the date, time or place of the assessment. The notification must be given to the person or sent by registered post or recorded delivery, and should also warn the person that they are liable to prosecution if they do not attend and remain for the duration of the assessment.

Section 88 – Failure to comply with requirements under sections 85 and 86

191.Subsection (2) provides that a person will have committed an offence if they fail to attend the assessment location to obtain details of their appointment, or fail to attend or to stay for the duration of a drugs assessment. A drugs assessor must notify the police if an offence has been committed.

Section 89 – Guidance for the purposes of sections 85 to 88

192.This section sets out that constables and drugs assessors carrying out functions under these powers must have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers.

Section 90 – Interpretation of sections 85 to 88

193.This section sets out certain definitions of terms used in sections 85 to 88.

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