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Senior Police Manager's Views on Integrity Testing, and Drug and Alcohol Testing

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 29 Issue: 3 Dated: 2006 Pages: 394-407
Tim Prenzler
Date Published
14 pages
A questionnaire solicited the attitudes of senior police managers about the use of integrity tests and drug/alcohol tests in order to prevent officer misconduct.
Respondents reported high levels of support for targeted testing in serious cases of suspected corruption. Moderate support was given for random testing in serious cases. Responses were mixed for both targeted and random testing in less serious cases. There was strong support for alcohol and drug testing. The questionnaire was completed by 114, mostly Australian, senior police managers. The survey was conducted during an executive-level training course at the Australian Institute of Police Management. The context for the survey has been the use of integrity tests (responses to simulated misconduct opportunities) and related drug and alcohol testing programs in a number of jurisdictions for the purposes of revealing and deterring police misconduct; however, such tests have been criticized as unethical because of issues related to privacy, deception, entrapment, and legal rights. The most challenging ethical issue is the use of such testing to predict future misconduct rather than to detect existing or past misconduct. Random testing in particular is open to this criticism. Practical issues include costs and possible undermining of officers' morale and trust. 5 tables and 23 references