Random drug testing is delivering ‘‘disappointing’’ yet ‘‘unsurprising’’ results in the region, according to Police Inspector Jy Brown.
The new roadside testing system was implemented in the police command earlier this month.
In the first week alone 10 drivers allegedly tested positive for illicit substances in the roadside and secondary testing.
Drug testing was carried out in the region over the weekend, including at Tocumwal on Saturday night.
During this operation a 39 year-old Cobram man allegedly tested positive for methamphetamines in a roadside drug test.
Police conducted the test as part of a random breath test stop on Barooga Rd at Tocumwal about 9.40pm.
The driver was taken to Deniliquin Police Station for secondary testing, which police will also allege was positive. A saliva sample has been sent for more thorough testing, which will determine if any charges are to be laid. The man was suspended from driving for 24 hours.
Insp Brown said there had been a steady stream of positive tests recorded across the entire command region.
He said police are sending a clear message that anyone driving under the influence will be caught.
‘‘Drug driving will continue to be a focus of police, just like drink driving,’’ he said.
‘‘The results of the roadside drugs tests conducted to date are not surprising, and our early figures seem to be on par with positive detections across the state.’’
Deniliquin Police Inspector John Aichinger said the Local Area Command now has access to three of the testing instruments and these are based in Deniliquin, Hay and Moama.
It is expected more will become available in other areas as local involvement in this program progresses.
Insp Aichinger said the overall aim is to protect locals and visitors in the region.
‘‘Between 2013 and the end of 2016 there were nine fatal crashes in the Deniliquin Police Command, and four of those were due to people being under the influence,’’ Insp Aichinger said.
‘‘Of those four, three were drug related. The problem is out there and it is affecting the safety of this community.
‘‘This program is there to target and combat that, first and foremost.
‘‘It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle, attempt to put a vehicle into motion or to supervise a learner driver whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with any amount of illicit drug in your system.’’
Insp Aichinger said the new roadside drug testing program would run in conjunction with existing police powers, which includes demanding blood and urine testing for drivers who police deem to be visibly affected by a substance.
He said police would also continue to call on the state’s drug bus during larger operations.
The drug testing devices have been specifically designed to pick up on illicit drugs only and do not react to prescription or over the counter medicines.
A positive roadside drug test gives police the power to ban a person from driving for 24 hours, but official charges depend on the results of laboratory testing.
‘‘It’s a saliva test — a tongue scrape — and if the random roadside test is positive the driver undertakes a secondary test at the station. Each test can take between three and five minutes,’’ Insp Aichinger said.
‘‘A saliva sample is also taken to be sent to Sydney for testing.’’