Griffith police have confirmed it is business as usual with random drug testing in the area despite news of the dramatic decision of Wagga police to cease mobile drug testing indefinitely due to left-wing political pressure.
Highway Patrol officers in Wagga will no longer target P-platers, criminals and repeat offenders amid pressure from civil libertarians and left-leaning politicians.
It came after the NSW Greens labelled targeted testing a “breach of human rights” and described drug abuse as a medical – rather than criminal – issue.
The issue of targeting reared its head in Griffith Local Court on Wednesday, after the lawyer of a man fronting court over charges of driving with an illicit drug present in his bloodstream for the second time - revealed his client had been pulled over eight times for police for testing before recording a positive response.
According to Inspector Kim Traynor from the Griffith Local Area Command random drug testing will continue in the Griffith area.
Inspector Traynor said while local police have only had resources to carry out regular tests for illicit drugs on drivers for the past year, police believe it is an important road safety strategy.
“Previously a number of motor vehicle crashes in the command have been attributed to the driver’s being impaired by drugs and random drug testing has shown that there are impaired drivers on the road,” she said.
The numbers appear to back her up with five people in the Griffith area alone testing positive for driving under the influence of an illicit drug over the Easter long weekend.
Inspector Traynor explained the random drug testing meant anyone, at any time could be subjected to a test, which usually occur in conjunction with random breath testing.
However, she emphasised that if police stop a vehicle for a purpose other than a random test and believe a driver may be affected by a drug legislation and other powers did allow police to arrest drivers and take them to hospital for testing.
Wagga’s The Daily Advertiser reported it was understood Wagga police were frustrated at the decision to cease drug testing which meant no drug testing was done over Easter.
Wagga Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Wayne McLachlan confirmed his unit was not carrying out mobile tests.
“No, at present we are not conducting them,” he said.
“We have had 14 positive tests from the year, with no positive tests over Easter.”
It follows the Senior Sergeant last year touting police’s one-in-three hit rate on drug drivers.
Sergeant McLachlan said he was unable to explain the dramatic decrease in both initial tests and detections.