Policing and pathways to diversion and care among vulnerable young people who use alcohol and other drugs

This report explores the facilitators and barriers to care for vulnerable young people who use alcohol and other drugs and who have police contact.

Understanding and responding to alcohol-related social harms in Australia

Options for policing

A discussion paper prepared at the request of the Conference of Commissioners of Police of Australasia and the South West Pacific Region. Prepared by Roger Nicholas, Senior Research Officer National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund. March 2008.

Policing alcohol and illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in metropolitan environments

Policing affords many opportunities for individual officers and police services to improve outcomes for community members and reduce the burden of substance misuse on the community. Key points highlighted concerning metropolitan areas include:

  • A broad spectrum of services is available (albeit acknowledged to often be under-resourced), providing police with a range of referral points for and information sources about local area issues.  
  • Service providers and other agencies may also be variously accountable for public safety. Police may develop partnerships with these agencies, ensuring that tight resources can be appropriately directed to meet community needs.

Service providers can help police to better understand the complex life circumstances of individuals affected by alcohol and other drugs. Benefits of information exchanges can be twofold i.e. improved police confidence in handling complex situations; and increased awareness within the service sector of the range of tasks and behaviours police are expected to perform and manage.

The prevention of trauma reactions in police officers: Decreasing reliance on drugs and alcohol

This study represents the first randomised controlled study of a resilience training program, based on empirical evidence and designed to inoculate emergency services personnel against job stressors. It has highlighted the fact that the vast majority of police recruits were resilient to exposure to traumatic events. Findings at six-month follow-up indicate that more than half of all participants reported a total substance or alcohol involvement score that was at risk level. This suggests the need for clear, comprehensive and widely known policies and procedures to be put in place to identify and support those with either substance or alcohol use problems Overall, the results of this study provide support for the inclusion of resilience training in the overall training of new-recruit police officers until further, long-term follow-ups suggest otherwise.

Evaluation of the deterrent effect of Random Breath Testing (RBT) and Random Drug Testing (RDT) - The driver's perspective

The evaluation involved a mixed methodology, where review and a qualitative component guided the development of a survey to assess the deterrent effect of random breath testing (RBT) and random drug testing (RDT), and a quantitative component measured the influence of various law enforcement practices on a driver’s decision to drink/drug drive. In order to ascertain aspects of law enforcement practice that have the greatest deterrence value to drivers, analysis on Australia-wide data was performed. The project focused on identifying which law enforcement practices have the greatest deterrent effect on drivers who consume alcohol and/or drugs, and who indicate they are likely to drink drive and/or drug drive in the future from the driver’s perspective.

The governance of illicit synthetic drugs

Throughout the lifecycle of an illicit synthetic drug there are a number of individuals or institutions in a position to reduce supply. This project aims to identify concrete examples of law enforcement agencies harnessing external institutions (public, private and non-profit) in furtherance of amphetamine and other illicit synthetic drug control, and to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each. The research has focused on strategies adopted by law enforcement agencies overseas, and involved fieldwork in Asia, Europe and the United States. The study discusses international and Australian chemical diversion control initiatives and the challenges of diversion control and supply reduction partnerships, and examines various models adopted by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States to prevent the diversion of necessary chemicals and equipment into the manufacture of illicit synthetic drugs. The study concludes that law enforcement can harness the resources of other organisations in the public and private sectors through a range of mechanisms both mandatory and voluntary, and summarises a number of best practice principles for supply reduction partnerships which have been distilled from the case studies.