Forced testing may breach human rights

    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
    committee says.

    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
    interests.

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