ANYONE arrested in Redditch on suspicion of a range of offences now faces being tested for drugs.

The controversial move was introduced at police stations in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcester last week.

It is part of an initiative called Drug Testing On Arrest or DTOA, the aim of which is to help organisations within the criminal justice system identify and tackle drug-related offending.

Any person over the age of 18 arrested for crimes linked to burglary, drug supply and possession or theft and fraud, will have their mouths swabbed to test for Class A drugs.

Failure to provide a mouth swab will be an offence.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hughes said:
"This initiative was initially launched in Telford back in March and it is now being rolled out right across West Mercia.

"Following a positive test for Class A drugs such as cocaine or heroin, a detainee is then required to attend two meetings - known as required assessments - with a drugs worker.

“Failure to provide a mouth swab and failure to attend the required assessments will be an offence.”

The need to attend both assessments following a positive test still stands even if a person faces no further action regarding the offence they were arrested for.

Failure to do so could result in three months in prison and/or a fine.

Temporary DCI Hughes added: “The overall aim of the initiative is to get an individual into treatment rather than take action for failure to provide or attend required assessments.

"We are confident the introduction of DTOA will allow us to target users of Class A drugs and then channel them into treatment.

“We also believe the initiative will offer us greater intelligence about drug users - and drug supply and demand - and will also allow us to target our efforts more accurately and with a much higher degree of knowledge.”

All police forces in England and Wales were given the powers by the Home Office last year.