A POLICE sergeant with an "unblemished career" has been dismissed from the force after refusing to provide a drugs test sample through fear it would return a positive result.

Sergeant Michael Suley, who was stationed in Clacton, has been removed from Essex Police for gross misconduct after declining to provide a urine sample on November 25 of last year. 

The unique case was brought to light following an internal investigation by Essex Police's Professional Standards Department.

Under Police Regulations, he was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour for orders and instructions and discreditable conduct.

The incident resulted in a special case hearing having to be held in the Chelmsford Civic Centre on Monday, which was chaired by chief constable BJ Harrington.

It heard that sergeant Suley refused to comply with the drugs test protocol.

Defending his decision to refuse the test, Sergeant Suley said he was concerned the test would return as positive because he took cannabidiol oil.

He also suggested he had recently been at risk of passive inhalation of cannabis smoke while off duty.

Under Home Office rules, however, refusing to provide a sample is deemed to be as serious as failing a drugs test all together. 

Therefore, despite a previously unblemished career, Sergeant Suley has been dismissed without notice.

Following the outcome of the hearing, chief constable BJ Harrington re-iterated the importance of members of the force respecting the need for drug tests.

"We police with consent so maintaining the trust and confidence of the public is essential," he said.

"The requirement for officers to take drugs tests under specific circumstances is essential to assure the public officers are not taking illegal drugs.

"It also serves as a deterrent to the small minority of officers who may be tempted.

"A refusal to take a test when lawfully required is a very serious matter and, as a result, is treated the same as if an officer failed the test.

"Where officers self-declare substance misuse related issues prior to testing there is welfare support in place to help them."