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QPUE: The Police Union neither supports nor condones drug use.

06 November 2012

The Police Union neither supports nor condones drug use.

However, integrity and honesty are the most important aspect for prospective police recruits, and insofar as the Law Society, accounting boards, medical registration boards, the armed services and even politicians take into consideration the circumstances and time of illicit drug use admissions, it makes sense the Queensland Police Service would too. No-one is saying you should get in, just if you are honest on the form you should not be automatically precluded from applying to the police service.

The Police Union is not driving this issue. It is being driven by the QPS and the new Commissioner, although we are supportive of reviewing QPS entry requirements.

Commissioner Ian Stewart has told me that he has been informed that over 70% of the population have now admitted to having used illicit substances at some time in their past, and that police are after all a part of society.

The Commissioner is currently conducting a review of recruiting and the Police Union was asked to comment on whether prospective recruits should have their applications automatically rejected if they have ever admitted to trying a substance like marijuana. Not received a conviction and not having tried it recently.

Commssioner Stewart has informed us that 35% of society have admitted to trying marijuana and 70% have admitted to having tried illicit drugs in their past. We do not want prospective recruits to lie on their applications.

One issue was recruiting standards and an example was thrown up which I received from a police officer some months ago which I discussed with the former commissioner and CMC. In brief, a current serving soldier with over 20 years service, served overseas with distinction, has some of the highest security clearances one can get, on his application form admitted as a teenager to smoking marijuana whilst at school, was never charged or had any action taken against him by authorities. Due to this admission he is now automatically precluded from joining the QPS. We should encourage honesty and integrity at all times and not want people to tell untruths.

We need to acknowledge that we want prospective recruits to be honest on their application forms, without thinking they will be automatically excluded from the police service if they are.

I also agree with Commissioner Ian Stewart's review of this issue and traffic infringements. Currently you have to have a clean driving record for 5 years before you are accepted into the police service and I agree this too should be reviewed.

This is not about lowering entry requirements, just bringing them into line with all other professional bodies. Police are after all the same as all other people.

Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama lead or have led the most powerful nation in the world and have illicit substance use in their pasts and I believe other prominent politicians in Australia as well and that doesn't make them bad or unfit people. 

We do not want drug users in the QPS however if you have used illicit substances in your distant past you should not automatically be precluded from joining the QPS. I'm not saying you should still get in but your application should be considered. Currently it's not.

No drug user or even a person who has recently tried or used drugs should ever be allowed into the Police Service, however if you tried an illicit substance when you were 14, 15, or 16, and you are honest about it on your form, you should at least have your application considered. Not automatically approved, just considered.

We do not support any current drug users and we do support random alcohol testing and targeted drug testing in the QPS like occurs in many other workplaces. If you use drugs, there is no place for you in the QPS. If you once tried an illicit substance when you were 14, 15, or 16, then you should not be automatically precluded from the police service as currently happens, and at least have your application considered.

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