Police recruits fail drug test

What took place

Required height, good health and other physical requirements. In some cases good academic qualification. They have them. Yet many of these prospective recruits are not accepted to join the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Why? A lot of them are failing the drug test!

They are failing-on-the-spot drug tests and are turned away, according to the Nassau Guardian.
A senior Police Officer, who requested anonymity, admitted the problem is on the rise.

“In a lot of cases it is true,” he said. “It’s not true with every applicant, but it has been a problem for us to find people to recruit, because the drug tests do come up positive for a number of our applicants. Such tests show that they have drugs in their system.” The senior officer explained that every year, there are about two to three squads where nearly 150 applicants are vetted for those squads. Out of that number he said, “quite a lot” of them are turned down from entering the force for failing the mandatory drug exam.

But despite the officer’s claim, The Police Training College refused to confirm or deny that drug abuse among potential recruits is on the increase, and blames the dwindling number of police recruits on the lack of education. “The guys who know that they have drugs in their system don’t come to us because they know they will be tested,” Police Training College officials said. “But the problem we really face is with the educational level. They seem to find it difficult to pass the entrance examinations.”

He added that in a male dominated field, most of the applicants who qualify, passing both drug and academics tests are female.

“It’s a sad situation,” he said. “Because there is extreme difficulty with recruiting male officers.”

The senior officer who insists that the force is facing a problem with potential recruits being drug users, said that many of the hopeful officers use various methods, in a bid to clean the traces of drugs our of their system, but warned potential recruits, “it doesn’t go away as quickly as they would think.”

He added that the force keeps secrets and covers up for its members, so issues like this one would be swept under the rug.

“Some of them tell you what they want to tell you and give you what they want to give you,” he said. “They’re not going to give you everything, and they’re just going to keep the rest.”

Commentators’ views

Shocked was how many commentators reacted when they heard the news. They couldn’t believe that people seeking to join the police force, would be drug users. “It’s inconceivable that these youngsters could believe that they use drugs and that it wouldn’t show up:” said Chester Radcliff on a radio call-in programme.

Most commentators criticised the applicants for using drugs and for thinking that they could get away undetected. “They must be naive:” said Pauline Manchester.

Many called for a more rigid substance abuse programme to be carried out. They recommend that the powers that be make a concerted effort to target young people – in schools, community groups, sports organizations and elsewhere.