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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 November, 2003, 11:53 GMT
Drugs test pilot for Kent's schools
Sniffer dog
Sniffer dogs will be used alongside the ION Track Tester
Hi-tech equipment is being used in a pilot scheme to test for drugs in Kent schools.

The BBC has learnt 10 schools in the county are taking part in the project developed by the police.

Officers use an Ion Track Tester, alongside sniffer dogs, to swab school equipment such as lockers, desks and the school bus to find out if pupils are bringing drugs into school.

Pupils are not tested themselves in the venture organised by school staff, Kent Police and the county's drugs prevention teams.

The Ion Track Tester was initially developed in America to test for explosives and it is now used at almost every airport in the world.

Clearly the majority of kids in schools do not want drugs in their institution and this is clearly about drug prevention and drug education.
Paul Carter, Kent County Council
Tests discovered the device could detect drugs and can distinguish between the different classes of drugs.

The device has a swab on the end of it and it can be used on anything from humans to bags.

Paul Carter, Kent County Council's cabinet member for schools standards, said the tests are a precaution and not indicative of a drugs problem in Kent's schools.

Mr Carter said the council supported the initiative and had issued strict guidelines to ensure the tests were administered correctly.

Sensitive issues

He said: "Clearly the majority of kids in schools do not want drugs in their institution and this is clearly about drug prevention and drug education.

"The headteachers, with their board of governors, have to be sensitive to all of the issues involved and make sure that when they do adopt the Ion tracker system, or involve the passive dogs, that they do it sensibly and responsibly.

"I have every confidence headteachers will adopt it in the most sensible way to get the maximum benefit from it."

Pupils will not be arrested as a result of the tests but it will alert teachers to the kind of problem the school has and an educational programme will be developed for them.




SEE ALSO:
Drugs 'charter' for schools
27 Oct 03  |  Manchester
Pupils in drug dealing game
08 Oct 03  |  Scotland
Drugs education 'works'
07 Oct 03  |  Education


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