Mark | 02.06.2003 13:49
the V2003 music festival (of all places!). Some time ago there were
of multi-ten-thousand pound laptops being use to detect proximity of
UK: Festival fans face laptop drug test
The Sunday Times
Sunday 01 Jun 2003
THOUSANDS of people at pop festivals this summer could be subjected
computerised drug test by police. Fans queueing to see Coldplay, the
Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters at one festival will be asked to
swab samples from their hands, writes Maurice Chittenden.
The samples will be inserted into a drug detection machine which is
the size of a laptop computer and costs £40,000. The machine will
green, amber or red to show whether any drugs residue has been
It is a voluntary test but anyone refusing to take part could be
by officers. Anti-drug law campaigners say the move is a retrograde
when cannabis is about to be reclassified from a class B to a class C
Police plan to use the machine for the first time when the three
at the V2003 festival at Weston Park, Staffordshire, in August.
Officers tried out the computer at a Stafford nightclub last month.
than 190 people were tested as they queued to go in. Six tested
but no drugs were found on them.
The human rights group Liberty said: "Police cannot force anyone to
random drug test. Yet if people refuse, officers could view this as
suspicious and then decide to search them anyway."
Not all police forces are convinced of the effectiveness of the random
tests. Avon and Somerset police will not be using such drug testing
three-day Glastonbury Festival, Britain's biggest annual pop event,
this month. They intend to target drug dealers rather than users.