Powers in the Drugs Bill to compulsorily test offenders for drugs
at the point of arrest and enforce intervention orders could
contravene human rights laws, MPs and peers have warned.
A report by the parliamentary joint committee on human rights
released this week says the measures could breach article 8 of the
European Convention on Human Rights, which allows the right to
respect for private life.
“Our concern is that people who have been compulsorily drug tested
on arrest are then effectively coerced, by threat of criminal
sanction, into agreeing to treatment before being charged with any
criminal offence and without any prior judicial authorisation,” the
Under clause 7 of the bill, which this week completed its passage
through the House of Commons, police would have the power to carry
out compulsory drug testing where it is believed drug taking may
have prompted the offence.
The bill also introduces powers to require people who test positive
to attend assessments on their drug use and to grant intervention
orders alongside antisocial behaviour orders requiring attendance
at treatment programmes.
But under article 8 of the European convention, an individual with
capacity can refuse treatment – even if it is in their best