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Police / Concern over lengthy time taken for police to process samples as backlog continues

THERE can be delays of up to a year for urine samples to be processed by police laboratories, a meeting of Shetland’s licensing board heard this morning (Monday).

Meanwhile there were three reports of alleged spiking in pubs and clubs in Shetland last year, according the police.

Shetland’s licensing board heard that no drugs were found in two urine samples taken in relation to the reports.

But there was concern over an admission from the police that a backlog in labs means some urine samples could take a year to be processed and have results come back.

Sergeant Sarah Paterson told the licensing board that a urine sample relating to the third spiking report is still awaiting its results.

She highlighted how samples are also used regarding offences like drink driving.

Councillor Tom Morton said a delay of one year would seem to be “quite unacceptable” and questioned the effect these delays have cause on samples.

Paterson said the delays are “frustrating for everyone involved” but was unable to comment on the exact reasons behind the backlog.

She also said samples would be correctly stored and managed.

Paterson added that spiking can take the form of substances in drinks, which is the most common method, and also injections.

She said the police takes reports of spiking seriously, with officers taking “immediate steps to safeguard the victim”.

There is also a Police Scotland spiking toolkit which “aims to provide consistent messaging and reassurance” about reports of spiking.

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