NORTHUMBERLAND-BASED Draeger Safety UK Ltd has received the first Home Office approval for a drug detection kit which could be used by police forces across the UK.
The Dräger DrugTest 5000 will be used by police and employers to detect cannabis, and it could bring the company more than £1m if contracts are won with the UK police force.
The product was developed and made in Germany by Draeger but it has been approved by the Home Office for use in this country and will be serviced here. It is the first and only product to win approval, which comes 45 years after Dräeger became the first company in the UK to get type approval on a breathalyser – the Alcotest 80 tube in 1967. It now has around 40-50% of the world’s breathalyser market.
Mark Burrup, regional focus group manager diagnostics, at Draeger Safety UK Ltd, said: “The rigorous type approval process has confirmed that our device is accurate, reliable and robust. We have experience working with police forces across the UK and on a global scale. Therefore, we understood the need to develop a product that would be easy to use, reliable and could work in real time, ultimately supporting police officers in their role in this increasingly important area.”
The testing kits are being introduced under a wider crackdown, which will see drug driving become a specific offence. Offenders will face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000, as well as an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months.
Mark Burrup added: “The Dräger DrugTest 5000 device will be initially used to support the existing offence of driving while impaired with drink or drugs.
“We also believe it will have a vital role to play in the future when a statutory limit for drugs may come into force.
“As the new legislation comes into effect, we will continue to work with forces to ensure our solutions deliver real value and, moreover, can be used as part of an integrated range of measures to reduce the number of drug-drivers on our roads and the impact they have on the safety of others.”
A similar version of the Dräger DrugTest 5000 is already used by German police forces to identify most known illegal drugs, such as amphetamines, opioids, cocaine, cannabis and drugs in the Ecstasy group.