Leeton residents are applauding Griffith police’s decision to continue with random drug testing in the area despite news of Wagga police ceasing mobile drug testing indefinitely due to left-wing political pressure.
Leeton Neighbourhood Watch chairman Mark Norvall fully supports the decision by Griffith police to continue carrying out the testing.
“It is an important part of keeping the roads safe,” he said.
“When you hear some of the figures for those who have been testing positive to drugs while driving it is quite frightening.
“It should be done and in fact more should be done about it.”
According to Mr Norvall there have been times where one-in-five drivers have tested positive to some form of drug while being behind the wheel.
The decision from Wagga police came after the NSW Greens labelled targeted testing a “breach of human rights” and described drug abuse as a medical – rather than criminal – issue.
“I didn’t realise that breaking the law had become a human right,” Mr Novall said.
“I don’t see the difference between that and testing someone for drink driving. It is basically the same thing.”
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.