Drugs specialist

Job Family Investigation
Job Sub Family Investigation
Code INV-INV-SD-Drug Specialist- Trial Draft 09/23

Role Purpose

To provide independent and impartial specialist advice to investigations/investigators about drug evidence and offences, this includes: reviewing evidential material in cases that relate to complex drug matters and to provide impartial evidence about drug evidence and offences, including evidence of opinion, to the court as required.

Key Accountabilities

  • Provide independent and impartial specialist advice within your field of knowledge and experience to support drug-related investigations
  • Handle exhibits from investigations in line with agreed standard operating procedures to maintain the integrity, continuity and security of the evidence whilst taking health and safety into account for the purpose of investigative processes and court proceedings.
  • Review all documentary material and physical exhibits provided by the investigating officer/team, seeking clarification and additional information/material where required to ensure the correct advice is given
  • Produce timely, accurate and proportional documents and reports setting out findings and outlining conclusions in line with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (CPIA) section 19.4, Attorney General’s Guidelines and other legislation/regulations to support the criminal justice process.
  • Conduct practice in line with the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020 and Criminal Practice Direction 2023, CPS Guidance on Expert Evidence, CPS Guidance for Experts on Disclosure Unused Material and Case Management 2019, and relevant case law to ensure that cases are dealt with justly.
  • Submit own reports for peer review and undertake peer reviews of the reports of others in accordance with nationally agreed standard operating procedures to ensure they are factually correct, and opinions offered are justifiable.
  • Engage with standard operating procedures, academic evidence base and best available practice to develop own specialist area of knowledge, for example, drugs market, yields.
  • Engage with professional bodies and others to contribute to, and share, best available practice and improve the overall quality of drugs specialist advice and evidence.
  • Attend court as an expert witness to give testimony of opinion to support the criminal justice process.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

  • Demonstrable operational knowledge and experience gained through day-to-day policing or other similar role which demonstrates a strong understanding of drug markets and/or a specialist area within it.
  • Must have operational knowledge and experience of the rules of evidence and disclosure (CPIA and Attorney General’s Guidelines), and of developing files of evidence for crown court
  • Experience of writing detailed reports and critiquing own work.
  • Undertaken training in attending court and presenting evidence of opinion as an expert witness.


Core Skills

 Role specific skills

  • Ability to apply patience, attention to detail, and methodology to own practice.
  • Ability to identify variety of credible sources and conduct own research.
  • Work alone in forming unbiased opinions that are objective or can be supported by experience.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD is ongoing; it enables the individual, in collaboration with their organisation, to maintain, develop and gain recognition for existing and new professional skills, knowledge and competence. It is undertaken to ensure we continue to provide high quality policing to keep the public safe and help to drive career aspirations.

More information on how to plan CPD can be found here.

Discussion of CPD is usually included as part of a Professional Development Review (PDR). PDR is a tool to support police officers and staff to take ownership of their professional development and plan career progression. More information on how to use a PDR for development can be found here.
This section has three parts:
1. annual learning/mandatory training/accreditation requirements
2. signposting to suggested activities and resources for the individual to maintain and enhance competence and professional development in the role, and
3. any ongoing professional registration and/or licensing requirements of the role)
Annual learning/accreditation requirements
(Outlines mandatory/annual learning or requirements to maintain accreditation in the role. Please note any exemption is at Chief Constable discretion, in line with local force policy.)

Professional development
In order to keep up to date with new approaches to evidence based policing, and new technological approaches within the Drug Specialist role, the following should be considered:

  • Develop and maintain a current competence and working knowledge around drug markets and/or area of specialism.
  • Give and receive mentoring and coaching from colleagues and other specialists.
  • Maintain knowledge of applicable legislation.
  • Build professional networks through membership of relevant professional bodies
  • Keep up to date with relevant national guidance

Professional Registration/Licenses


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