A "TOTALLY unacceptable” level of drug driving has led to police forensic services being forced to send tests to private labs.

A report prepared for watchdogs at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) revealed how the demand for “drug driving analysis remains significantly higher” than what forensic services can cope with.

With cases at the “elevated level”, the Scottish Government approved additional funding in November, which will allow “around 900 cases to be outsourced.”

Director of SPA Forensic Services Fiona Duncan said: “There continues to be a significant challenge with regards to high levels of demand for Section 5A drug driving toxicology analysis.”

Duncan said they were working together with Police Scotland and the Crown Office to find a “long-term sustainable solution” to the problem.

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SPA board member Tom Halpin has condemned the “frankly totally unacceptable level of drug driving on Scotland’s roads.”

Halpin served as deputy chief constable in Lothian and Borders Police prior to the creation of Police Scotland.

He told the SPA Meeting: “One result of this ongoing challenge is keeping up with the demand for toxicology services, the testing of blood and suspected drug drivers.

“The director of forensic services reports that the demand continues to exceed the in-house capacity to deliver.

“Forensic services capacity is being enhanced by outsourcing some of the drug driving blood testing to private forensic service companies.”