2014 Reforms to handling of drug exhibits

After several drug handling incidents across the state, a drug exhibit working party was established in 2011.

Chaired by the Commander of the SPC, the working party examined the transport, handling, storage and disposal of drug exhibits across the state. 

During the consultation phase an exhibit officers’ forum was conducted at the SPC in May 2012, seeking feedback from practitioners in the field.

A comprehensive report was delivered to the NSWPF’s SET for endorsement. Among the 53 recommendations were standardisation of SOPs, risk assessments, education materials & training. 

Changes in legislation were put to the government seeking that drugs be disposed of once analysis by DAL is completed.

On 19 June 2014, the Police Minister announced a raft of reforms that addressed many of the WHS issues we had highlighted.

They included allowing Police to destroy dangerous drug exhibits sooner, while maintaining sufficient samples for scientific analysis.

As a result, the drug analysis backlog at Forensic and Analytical Science Services (FASS) was reduced and unnecessary work and red tape cut down. At the time, Police transporting drug exhibits to and from FASS, cost about 2000 police hours and $1.2 million per year.