Graham Jones, our lead investigations trainer, answers the question.
“One of the roles of the Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer is to either investigate incidents or, more likely, to oversee someone else in the team when they investigate on their behalf.”
“If an incident resulted in your organisation having to terminate an employment or, even more so, should a death occur as a result of an issue surrounding your standard operating procedures concerning controlled drugs, a very pertinent question to ask yourself is, “Would my investigations, at present, stand up to the detailed scrutiny which would ultimately happen?”
“Would you be able to stand in a witness box and be comfortable in the knowledge that you have complied with the relevant legislation surrounding an investigation; whether it be a civil, criminal or coroners court. Do you know your obligations under The Police and Criminal Evidence Act surrounding interviewing and seizure of evidence? What about your need to comply with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act? There is more but I won’t go on.
“We are not attempting to make you a barrister – we have a courtroom skills course for healthcare professionals to help you in the witness box. We will give you a working knowledge of the relevant legislation which you can then apply to all of your investigations, whatever the severity, comfortable in the thought that you would be able to be scrutinised at all levels. It is fair to say that a large number of people who are found not guilty at court do not walk away because they are not really guilty. They walk away because a procedure has not been correctly followed or something has not been done which should have been. These are the points for a good defence lawyer to start dismantling a case, no matter where it is being tried. Then, just when you think things have gone badly wrong …. the press get hold of it……
“Get it right first time and know where to look for answers. Know who to speak to to confirm you are doing it correctly. As the Controlled Drug Accountable Officer it is your responsibility and you are accountable to ensure the above is done in such a manner that the organisation and yourself are protected.“