Top cop says past drug use should not ban new recruits

PEOPLE who admit to having experimented with drugs in their youth should be allowed to pursue policing careers, Queensland's new top cop says.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has been involved in discussions for months with the Police Union and the Crime and Misconduct Commission about reviewing the force's entry standards.

"We don't believe that if someone tried a drug when they were 14 at a high school party and they've never used it again, that that should necessarily preclude them.''

Mr Stewart said he was worried the current system used to screen potential recruits was encouraging them to lie about past drug use.

Currently, aspiring recruits are asked if they have ever used drugs in their lives. If they answer yes, they are immediately excluded.

Queensland civil libertarian Terry O'Gorman told the ABC that he believed the principal of rehabilitation should apply to police as well as others.

He said if someone had used marijuana when they were 16 or 18 they should not be excluded from applying for the police service years later.

However, he said if there was a conviction for recent drug use, it could be a completely different matter.

Mr O'Gorman said police used weapons and drove at high speed as part of their job so just like pilots or mine workers operating heavy machinery they could not be drug users.

More on this story on Brisbanetimes.com.au



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