Information for Candidates

Vetting Substance Misuse Policy

Police officers are involved in many high-risk activities and have high levels of contact and interaction with the public. As an employer the Police Service of Northern Ireland is required to provide a safe working environment and safe systems of working for both employees and those who are not in their employment but with whom they come into contact.

 This includes ensuring that police officers are fit to carry out their duties safely and effectively.

Given the growing problem with substance misuse within our society, the Police Service of Northern Ireland recognises that this is a culture that has the potential to impact upon the Police Service of Northern Ireland as an organisation. Misuse of any substance impairs judgement, slows reactions and increases the potential for risk of injury to staff and others.  In addition, the use of illicit substances provides increased opportunities for compromise through either coercion or inducement, leaving staff and the Police Service of Northern Ireland vulnerable and bringing into question the integrity of individuals. 

As a result the Police Service of Northern Ireland is introducing a substance misuse policy which includes testing of biological material for history of use of substances listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act.  Therefore, all successful applicants will be required to undergo a drug-screening test prior to being offered an appointment as a trainee police constable with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.  The biological material to be sampled as part of the pre-appointment process will usually be hair.  The Police Service of Northern Ireland recognises that individuals may, in some instances, have objections based on religious beliefs or medical issues to the use of a particular biological sample.  Where this is the case, applicants must inform the Police Service of Northern Ireland in writing in advance of the test date of the particular biological sample material that is objected to, and the grounds for this objection. 

However, you are advised that deliberately attempting to obstruct the process will be treated as failing the test, and no re-test will be provided in these circumstances. 

Those who return a positive result will not be offered an appointment with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.  This will not prevent applicants from applying for future recruitment programmes for Police Service of Northern Ireland when advertised. Full details of the testing requirements and procedure will be provided to successful applicants prior to the test being carried out.

Contact Us

Successful applicants will be expected to provide 2 samples of hair of 3cm in length and containing at least 50 -100 strands of hair per sample.  This will primarily be taken from the head, however on occasion, armpit or chest hair may be used. Where candidates have concerns regarding provision of three centimetres of hair, or have medical or religions reasons, contact should be made in writing to the :-

Substance Misuse Manager
Anti Corruption & Vetting
Police Service of Northern Ireland Headquarters
65 Knock Road