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The History of the Association

The Association of Police Controlled Drugs Liaison Officers (APCDLO) was established in 2000 by a small group of officers. Its purpose was to enhance working relationships with other police departments and partner agencies, while promoting best practices at national and regional levels.

To further this objective, the Association established connections with the former Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Drugs Committee. The value of these connections was recognized during the Shipman Inquiry, and the Association actively participated in subsequent consultations to implement the Inquiry's recommendations.

From its humble beginnings and annual conferences with a modest attendance of 30 interested individuals, the APCDLO has garnered full support from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC). It has evolved into a professional body, organizing highly sought-after annual conferences and events that consistently receive overwhelming interest. These conferences, known as best practice events, attract significant attention from industry partners across various sectors, including regulatory bodies and healthcare providers.

Initially, until late 2006, the Association's focus was inspecting retail pharmacy outlets and certain hospital pharmacies to ensure compliance with the Misuse of Drugs and Safe Custody Regulations pertaining to controlled drugs.

However, the implementation of the Health Act 2006, effective from January 1, 2007, placed greater emphasis on police involvement in investigating offenses, intelligence gathering, and fostering partnerships. This emphasis was particularly evident through the establishment of Controlled Drug Local Intelligence Networks (CD-LINs).

Each CD-LIN is overseen by an Accountable Officer (AO), who assumes responsibility for establishing local intelligence networks and adverse incident panels within their respective Local Area teams. These networks involve regulatory and inspection partners, as well as the police.

The primary focus of CDLOs is the policing of controlled drugs within the Health Service. Their mandate specifically addresses offenses related to pharmaceutical controlled drugs and their safe management. Offenses such as those involving bogus doctors, the sale of non-controlled drugs, theft of miscellaneous items from healthcare premises, and fraud are not within their purview.

CDLOs frequently collaborate with police colleagues and investigators in inquiries that fall outside their specific mandate.

The work of CDLOs is guided by several relevant legislations, including the

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971,

Health Act 2006, and their respective supporting regulations, such as the

Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2006,

Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973,

Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, and the

Medicines Act 1968.

Additionally, cases involving the misappropriation of controlled drugs are investigated under the

Theft Act 1968.

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