31 Oct 2014

Law group wants tighter drug storage

9:26 am on 31 October 2014

The Criminal Bar Association is calling for tighter security of drugs evidence following the guilty plea of a former senior policeman to theft and dealing of drugs stored at a police station.

Former police Detective Sergeant Michael Blowers pleaded guilty in the High Court in Whangarei yesterday to stealing methamphetamine from police storage units and passing it on to a dealer for profit.

Michael Blowers admitted stealing methamphetamine from police storage and passing it to a dealer.

Michael Blowers admitted stealing methamphetamine from police storage and passing it to a dealer. Photo: Northern Advocate

It has also emerged that $5,000 of the drug was stolen from the Huntly police station in 2011. However, an investigation had been unable to determine what happened to the drug and no one had been charged.

Criminal Bar Association president Tony Bouchier told Morning Report police should be doing random audits of drug safes, of the officers who deal with them, and possibly random drug testing.

He said drug thefts undermine the evidence police give in court cases and give the arguments of defence counsel more traction.

The trial of former Whangarei police officer Mike Blowers, 50, heard that he signed the meth out of the Whangarei Police Station for a day and returned it but it was later found to be cut with salt, its purity reduced from 89 to 28 percent.

Despite both charges, Assistant Police Commissioner Allan Boreham said a nationwide review was not needed.

"There are systems and processes in place to make sure that we can have confidence in the system," he said.

"Obviously, though, and this is why we're incredibly disappointed, a level of trust is required. It's how we do business."

Mr Boreham was unable to explain what would trigger a nation review of how police dealt with seized drugs.

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