Developing and implementing a performance measurement framework for drug law enforcement in Australia

Monograph no. 18

Katie Willis, Peter Homel, Katie Gray

This report presents a detailed description of a model process for developing a viable performance measurement framework for drug law enforcement in Australia. It was undertaken by the Australian Institute of Criminology on behalf of the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund in order to help provide a better accounting for the benefits from the estimated annual $1.4 billion expenditure on drug law enforcement in Australia. In keeping with their overseas counterparts, Australian drug law enforcement agencies have used seizure and arrest data to measure the effectiveness of their work performance for many years. While such measures are simple, visible and well-understood measures of law enforcement effort, they are in many cases ambiguous measures of law enforcement performance. These measures essentially demonstrate the extent to which law enforcement agencies 'engage' in certain types of activities rather than demonstrating the broader 'impacts' of law enforcement work. The performance measurement framework that was developed by this project provides a model framework and development process through which to redress the shortcomings of current drug law enforcement performance measurement practices by including a suite of traditional and more innovative performance measures. This framework has the potential to form the basis of a series of organisationally and jurisdictionally specific performance measurement models, suitably modified to reflect local requirements and available information.