The Police Response

There are three main levels of response that the Police can provide when responding to incidents of substance misuse:

1. Collection and administration of any suspected substances

Best practice suggests that suspected illegal drugs, should wherever possible, be disposed of by the Police, who have clear policies and procedures for this purpose. Prescription drugs can be returned to a pharmacy.

2. A partnership investigation

If staff suspect an individual is still in possession of a substance and refuses to co-operate, schools may need the Police to assist with a search. If this is the case, schools will need a swift response and the local police station should be contacted. The relevant SCPO will be informed and updated as soon as possible.

When the Police are contacted, a decision needs to be made on how to deal with the incident. The SCPO is there to assist and give advice. Where the school and the Police decide that an incident may be dealt with internally by the school, then both parties need to consider alternative action and support for an individual e.g. pastoral support    programmes, restorative approaches etc.

3. A formal police investigation

This should be undertaken, preferably, with the co-operation of the      school. It is likely that officers other than the SCPO will carry out any formal investigation and be responsible for informing the school of available information e.g. as referred to in: “Exclusion from Schools and Pupil Referral Units” (Part 5). However, the SCPO will remain a contact point throughout the investigation, being able to advise and update the school about this process.