POLICE will carry out drugs tests on criminals arrested in West Yorkshire.
New powers will enable officers to test people held for crimes such as robbery, burglary and muggings.
And those who test positive will automatically be referred to drugs experts to decide if they should be offered treatment as part of any punishment.
The powers came into effect in West Yorkshire today, following successful pilot schemes in Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and Nottingham.
Police aim to drive more drug users into treatment.
Police can now drugs test anyone arrested for a `trigger' offence, irrespective of whether or not they are charged.
The offences include crimes such as street robbery, burglary and theft.
They are usually committed to gain the cash needed to fund a drug habit.
Those who test positive for class A drugs will have to attend a compulsory assessment with a specialist drugs worker.
This will determine the extent of their drugs problem and what treatment and support is required to help them leave a life of crime behind.
For anyone charged with an offence, a positive drugs test will also be used in court in decisions about bail or sentencing.
Those that deny the opportunity to get treatment may be refused bail.
People who fail to comply with any part of the process, from providing a sample to attending an assessment, will face a fine of up to £2,500 and/or three months in prison.
Asst Chief Constable David Crompton said: "These new powers are a significant step forward when it comes to reducing crime in our region.
"They recognise that a huge amount of crime is committed as a result of drug dependence and aim to redress that balance by breaking the cycle.
"Moving the drug test from charge to arrest means that more offenders can be targeted at the very first stages of their contact with police.
"Drug offenders now face a tough choice. They can quit crime and take the chance to get off drugs for good, or face time behind bars.
"Either way, there will be less crime and less victims of crime, ensuring local people no longer pay the price of their addiction."