Tories back MacAskill in bid to implement 'drugalyser'

SCOTTISH ministers want to see the speedy introduction of roadside drug testing kits, it emerged yesterday.

Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, confirmed that he wants to see testing kits made available as soon as possible.

The move was welcomed by the Conservatives in Scotland who have been campaigning for the measure.

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Mr MacAskill said in a letter to Tory MSP Bill Aitken that the Home Office intends to publish guidance this month on which types of device would be acceptable.

"It will then be for manufacturers to prepare devices in line with that specification and submit them to the Home Office for approval," Mr MacAskill said.

"I have asked my officials to make clear to the Home Office our wish for the approval process to be completed as swiftly as possible."

Mr Aitken, the Tories' justice spokesman, said 7 per cent of young people admitted driving under the influence of illegal drugs and that one in three has been a passenger in a car driven by a driver on drink or drugs.

He added that a "drugalyser" was already in use in Australia, and that the Tories have been "harrying" the governments at Holyrood and Westminster over the past year to introduce a similar scheme in the UK.

"At long last we are making progress," Mr Aitken said.

"Of course there is a long way still to go before the 'drugalysers' are actually in use and I would urge both our governments to ensure the implementation of this scheme is a priority.

"The sooner this equipment is available for use in Scotland, the better it will be for the safety of everyone on our roads."