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Fighting drugs top priority   

Khaleej Times - 11 April, 2013

A proposal to subject new policing staff for check ups before joining the force was discussed at the 9th Symposium for Best Police Practices, to ensure that new recruits do not use drugs.

Khaleej Times learnt the news at the sidelines of the forum at the Jumeriah Creekside hotel on Wednesday, with the Dubai Police also recommending that more narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances be added to the list of illegal substances which the department uses to combat drug crimes.

Fuad Tarbah, Forensic Toxicologist and Lt. Col. Khaled Al Sumati of the General Department for Forensic Science and Criminology at Dubai Police put together a paper on ‘Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs) — Science, Technology and Law’, with Dr Tarbah presenting the talk.

Dr Tarbah said that the phenomena of persons using synthetic drugs, including spice, needed to be closely monitored, and he recommended a number of updates to improve policing practices.

This included establishing a scientific committee at GCC level to monitor the current drugs movement and he stressed the importance of developing a mechanism to speed up the introduction of additional narcotic substances to the current drug list.

Dr Tarbuh also urged the authorities to close websites where users can gain easy access to purchasing narcotics, and recommended that policing departments pour more funds into buying up-to-date equipment to analyse narcotic substances.

Dr Tarbah said that the Dubai Police has the ability to detect spice compounds in urine using the Urinary Metabolites Method in collaboration with Freiburg-Germany Institute of Legal Medicine, but the threats and challenges facing policing authorities in regards to combating drug crimes include lack of databases and reference materials and lack of modern techniques and devices.

During the presentation, he said that the Dubai Police have a good working relationship with the forensic evidence and narcotics teams (Criminal Security Sector, General Department of Anti-Narcotics) and are able to monitor the drug phenomena by launching intensified campaigns with the departments.

The General Department of Criminal Evidence and Criminology has also formed a committee of scientific experts to help with drug investigations.

He said the adoption of technology and devices for the detection and identification of compounds, provide reference and databases for the police, but stressed that these could be updated.

After the application of New Spice Analytical Methods, he said the Dubai Police was able to detect traces of spice on a 22-year-old who fell to his death from the 9th floor of a building in Dubai Marina.

With no evidence at the scene, the test meant the police were able to detect JWH-210, JWH 2201 — a chemical which acts as a potent cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors — in the victim’s urine.

The same method was also used to discover that the driver of a vehicle who was killed after hitting a concrete barrier, was using spice drugs.

Concluding, Dr Tarbuh said that the Dubai Police promotes scientific competence and expertise in addition to advance devices and technologies, which enable them to keep abreast with the global institutions in various fields of forensic evidence.

Improvements were needed, but the ongoing efforts to introduce new technologies and practices meant Dubai Police continues to strive in becoming one of the world’s best policing authorities.
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