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The History of the Association

The Association of Police Controlled Drugs Liaison Officers (APCDLO) was formed in 2000, by a small group of officers, to improve working relationships with the rest of the police service and partner agencies to promote best practice at both national and regional level.

To help support this aim, the Association set up links with the (then) Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Drugs Committee. The value of these links was acknowledged during the Shipman Inquiry and the Association was involved in a subsequent consultation regarding taking forward the Inquiry’s recommendations.


From humble beginnings and annual conferences with just 30 interested parties, the APCDLO has the full support of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and has grown into a professional body whose annual conferences and events are always oversubscribed. The conferences, or best practice events, attract much interest from across the whole range of industry partners including regulatory and healthcare providers.


Until late 2006, the association’s remit had been to inspect retail pharmacy outlets and some hospital pharmacies to ensure they were complying with the Misuse of Drugs and Safe Custody Regulations in respect of controlled drugs.

However, with the introduction of the Health Act 2006, which came into force on January 1 2007, there was a greater emphasis on the police being involved in not only the investigation of offences but also intelligence and partnership working; particularly through Controlled Drug Local Intelligence Networks (CD-LINs).

Each CD-LIN is led by an Accountable Officer (AO), he/she will be responsible for establishing the local intelligence networks and adverse incident panels for their Local Area team. These will involve regulatory and inspection partners and the police.

CDLOs Remit

The CDLOs remit and primary aim is the policing of controlled drugs within the Health Service.

This remit only includes offences that involve pharmaceutical controlled drugs and their safer management. Therefore does not include offences such as bogus doctors, the sales of non-controlled drugs and theft of miscellaneous items from health service premises and fraud.

CDLOs regularly act in partnership with police colleagues & investigators in enquiries outside their remit.


Relevant Legislation

The CDLOs work within the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, The Health Act 2006 and the supporting regulations  

The Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2006.  

The Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973.  

Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.   

The Medicines Act 1968.

The misappropriation of controlled drugs investigated under the Theft Act 1968. 

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