Phuket police denied drug-testing center

PHUKET: THE Office of Forensic Science has denied Phuket police permission to set up its own Scientific Crime Detection Center.

Phuket Police Commander Pekad Tantipong explained the request was turned down due to the lack of experienced officers to staff the center.

“Urine tests [for drugs] must be overseen by experts. If the urine is not well kept and protected, the investigators themselves may be infected by it,” said Maj Gen Pekad.

Another reason put forward in declining the request was inadequate facilities, he added.

“We don’t have a waste-disposal system as used at hospitals or medical science centers. Both can destroy materials using an appropriate system, and therefore protect their officers from becoming infected,” he said.

“We, the police, do not have that capability, so the Office of Forensic Science cannot allow us to set up the center. Now we have to find another way,” he explained.

Without their own test center, police will have to struggle on with the current system.

“Currently, testing urine for drugs is still a problem. If a preliminary test result is positive, the sample is sent to a medical sciences center in Trang for a comprehensive test.

“That takes too long. The sample may deteriorate by the time the comprehensive test is actually done. If the final test turns out negative, we cannot submit the case to the court,” he explained.

Maj Gen Pekad also said Phuket Provincial Police had received a circular from Bangkok saying that officers should not proceed with pressing charges on the basis of preliminary tests alone.

The circular said officers should release suspects pending results of the more conclusive comprehensive tests.

However, Maj Gen Pekad disagrees.

“I’ve discussed this with Royal Thai Police. Not proceeding with the case has a bad effect. It is difficult for us to find and arrest suspects we have released, especially after the final test result comes back positive.

“Such suspects are usually involved in robberies. So, in Phuket, if the preliminary result is positive and the suspect confesses, we will press charges.

“Then if the final test result turns out negative, we will drop the charges,” he said.

— Janpen Upatising

Phuket News

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