Melbourne, May 10 (ANI): The Queensland Police Service is shunning widely enforced “dry” workplace rules by permitting alcohol to be consumed and stored at many stations across the state, an investigation by The Sunday Mail has found.
Official QPS policy permits after-hours drinking at official functions at police stations – with some stipulations, according to Assistant Commissioner Ross Barnett.
The beverage list must include low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks and the officers in charge of the station must monitor the function, he said.
The definition of a function includes station social club gatherings. Some stations, though, have opted to be declared “dry” with a total ban on alcohol anywhere on the premises unless their district officer gives permission.
The Queensland Police Service also conducts widespread random breath testing to ensure no officer drinks during their shift or is under the influence of alcohol while on duty, Assistant Commissioner Barnett said.
Two officers have been caught working while under the influence since 2005 and have been disciplined.
Sixteen police officers have been caught drink-driving in the past 16 months – seven of them in the first four months of this year.
Police said all were off-duty and were caught after private functions. On average, five police officers are caught DUI each year.
Police officials say there appears to be no direct evidence for the spike in arrests although some cited increased workloads, shorthanded rosters and increased stress on police as possible reasons for greater reliance on alcohol.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has since vowed to sack any police officer caught over the legal limit while behind the wheel.
Assistant Commissioner Barnett said he understood community angst over recent police drink-driving arrests. (ANI)