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Drugs Home Office Circular 10/2005 Testing of substances suspected to be drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

From: Crime Reduction & Community Safety Group, Science Policy Unit

For More Information Contact:
Eric Downham 020 7217 8091 (after 9th April 2005 - 020 7035 3052) or, Jill Chapman on 020 7217 8763 (after 9th April 2005 - 020 7035 3053)
Email: Eric.Downham@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Email: Jill.Chapman@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

This Circular Is Addressed To:
The Chief Officers of Police (England and Wales)

Copies Are Being Sent To :
Clerks of Magistrates' Courts Committees , Clerks to the Justices, (England and Wales) , Clerks to the Police Authorities , The Chief Clerk of the Crown Court, The Chief Crown Prosecutor , The Circuit Administrator , The Court Administrator

Broad Subject: Crime and Disorder

Sub Category: Drug offences

Dear Chief Officer

This Circular provides advice to police officers and civilian scenes of crime officers on those drug testing kits which have been approved by the Home Office for the purpose of testing substances suspected to be controlled drugs, according to the terms of Home Office Circular 40/1998, amended by HOC 9/2002. It also names those training organisations which have been approved by the Home Office for the provision of training to officers in the use of the approved kits.

2. The existing Annexes A & B of Home Office Circular 40/1998 amended by 9/2002, should be destroyed and replaced by the attached revisions.

3. In addition the following paragraph should be added as 12a to section B Drug Testing Kits.

Cocaine:
12a The only type recommended for use by the police for testing for cocaine for presumptive testing under paragraph 7 (a) - (d) above is the immunoassay type. These kits must not be used for presumptive testing for drugs other than cocaine.

4. Any enquiries about this Circular should be addressed to the Home Office, Science Policy Unit on 020 7217 8091 (after 9th April 2005 to the Forensic Science and Pathology Unit on 020 7035 3052).

Eric Downham
Science Policy Unit

Annex A - Approved Drug Testing Kits

The following kits have been approved by the Home Office for use in testing for morphine, heroin, amphetamine and cocaine in accordance with paragraphs 10-13 of Home Office Circular 40/1998 - Testing of substances suspected to be drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971:

Morphine, heroin and amphetamine:

a) BDH Marquis test kit (product number 32148 1P) marketed by VWR International Ltd, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1TD;

b) MMC Opiate/Amphetamine test (formerly known as the ESA-Opiate/Amphetamine test kit) marketed by Tetra Scene of Crime, Hygro Farm, Kennel Lane, Billericay, CM11 2SU (telephone: 01277 626100);

c) NIK Marquis reagent kit (product number 6071A) marketed by Crack-Down Drug Testing of Unit 11, Boarshurst Business Park, Boarshurst Lane, Greenfield, Saddleworth, OL3 7ER (telephone: 01457 877988).

Cocaine:

d) Cozart Cocaine test kit marketed by Cozart Bioscience Ltd, 45 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4RU (telephone: 01235 861483);

e) Drug-ID cocaine test kit marketed by D.tec International Limited, PO Box 13, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, FY8 1GE (telephone: 0800 371898)

2. Suppliers of other kits who would like their kits to be considered for addition to this list should contact the Home Office, Science Policy Unit on 020 7217 8091 (after 9th April 2005 on 020 7035 3052). The Home Office will arrange for the kit to be tested at the supplier's cost. In considering whether a kit should be added to the Home Office approved list, particular attention will be given to its suitability for use by non-scientific staff; clarity of instructions; specificity of results; avoidance of contamination; labelling and packaging; and health and safety.

3. Home Office approval is subject to renewal at three yearly intervals and at any time the kit is modified. The Home Office must be notified in advance of any changes in the packaging, instructions or composition of the kit. Any changes which in the view of the Home Office may affect the efficacy and safety of use will require re-testing at the supplier's cost. Failure to notify the Home Office of changes will result in approval being withdrawn.

4. Subject to the need for re-testing in the light of any modifications, the kits referred to in Paragraph 1 above are approved for use until:

  • BDH Marquis test kit December 2007
  • MMC Opiate/Amphetamine test kit March 2006 (formerly known as ESA-Opiate/Amphetamine test kit)
  • NIK Marquis Reagent Kit December 2007
  • Cozart Cocaine test kit February 2008
  • Drug ID February 2008

Annex B - Approved Training Organisations

The following organisations are approved by the Home Office for training police and civilian scene of crime officers in the use of drug testing kits as specified in paragraphs 14-16 of Home Office Circular 40/1998 - Testing of substances suspected to be drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Marquis reagent kits:

1. Forensic Alliance Ltd, Culham Science Centre, Oxon, OX14 3ED (telephone: 01235 551800)

2. The Forensic Science Service, Priory House, Gooch Street North, Birmingham, B5 6QQ (telephone: 0121 607 6800);

3. LGC, Queens Road, Teddington, Middlesex, London, TW11 0LY (telephone: 0181 943 7540);

Immunoassay kits:

1. The Forensic Science Service, Priory House, Gooch Street North, Birmingham, B5 6QQ (telephone: 0121 607 6800);

2. Other organisations who would like to be considered for addition to this list should contact the Home Office, Science Policy Unit on 020 7217 8091 (After 9th April 2005 on 020 7035 3052). The Home Office will arrange for the organisation's training programme to be assessed at the organisation's cost. In considering whether an organisation should be added to the Home Office approved list, attention will be paid to whether the course adequately covers the following topics: the circumstances in which it is appropriate to use the kits; the limitations of the kit; avoidance of contamination; proper sampling; false positive/negative results; health & safety; and the use of the results from kits as evidence in court.

3. Home Office approval is subject to renewal at three yearly intervals and at any time if the course were to be significantly reworked. Such changes must be notified in advance to the Home Office. Any changes which in the view of the Home Office may affect the quality of the training may result in approval being withdrawn.

4. Subject to the need for any reassessment due to changes to the content of the training course, the organisations referred to in Paragraph 1 above are approved for training until:

  • Forensic Alliance May 2005
  • The Forensic Science Service January 2005
  • LGC June 2005