Getting Real Impact from Drug-related Law
Enforcement by Addressing Harms
UKDPC seminar, 10th March 2009
www.ukdpc.org.uk
Why re-focus on drug-related harms?

Widespread recognition that drug markets are
extremely resilient and traditional enforcement
– struggles to make sustainable impact on supply
– can make matters worse

UK Drug strategies focus on reducing harms

Trend towards a local partnership approaches and
a focus on community priorities

Performance still tends to be judged by measures
of traditional supply-side activity such as seizure
rates.
Project Objectives

To identify and promote the contribution
that drug-related enforcement activity can
make to reducing drug harms

To develop a framework which enables
enforcement & other agencies to plan and
assess operational activity on the basis of
evaluation of impact on drug-related
harms
Project components

Essays on how drug enforcement might address harms
published: Safer Communities Vol 8(1) January 2009

Desk research – to identify evidence of different
enforcement activity and their impact on a range of
harms and develop a framework relating enforcement to
harms

Consultation – with groups and individuals to identify
different perspectives on harms caused by drugs and
how enforcement is/can address drug harms

Case studies – to supplement desk research

Dialogue with key influencers
A focus on total harm

Harms at all levels:

–
–
–
–
– User
– Family / peers /
neighbours
– Local community –
institutions / business
/ community
– National –
institutions / business
/ political
Harms of all types:

Health
Economic
Social / structural
Environmental
Harms from:
–
–
–
–
Use
Production
Distribution
Control
International evidence –
Enforcement can reduce harm by …
1.
2.
3.
4.
Reducing drug use
Reducing the harm per unit of drug used
Reducing the harms users impose on
others
Reducing the harms caused by
trafficking, production & distribution of
drugs
UK examples of focus on harms

Modification of enforcement approach to
mitigate harm caused

Consideration of harms in prioritisation
Harms feature in aims of operations

– Acquisitive crime
– Public nuisance / community impact

Targeting new harms

BUT assessment of impact on harms rare
Findings

Enforcement agencies generally accept that:
– Enforcement will not eradicate drug markets
– Not all markets are equally harmful
– Enforcement has the potential to shape the market
both positively & negatively
– Benefits of partnership working

Is considerable potential for more harm-focused
approach

This can be achieved within existing policing
practice / guidelines
To achieve this we need …

Better understanding of the harms and
risks associated with drug use and markets

Reduction in the harm from drug markets
to be an explicit overall aim in relevant
strategies and organisations

Partnership working

Involvement of communities in problem
identification and priority setting
Need to consider harms at all stages

In problem specification / identification &
In prioritisation / choosing between different
demands or interventions.
– NIM Strategic assessment / tasking & co-ordination
Neighbourhood policing Community priorities
POP Scanning & Analysis

In identifying appropriate response if responding to
a new problem or seeking a fresh approach.

In impact assessment as a means of identifying
appropriate measures of the impact of activities and of
unintended consequences and
In performance management in the identification of
appropriate targets
Project outputs – simple tools
Framework consistent with existing approaches
and tools to assist implementation:

Harm framework to provide assist problem
specification.

Problem analysis framework

Case studies illustrating enforcement approaches
and their impact on drug harms

Examples of potential measures of the impact of
activities and of unintended consequences.
A harm framework/matrix
By whom or at what level and what type of harms are experienced:
INDIVIDUAL USER/DEALER
FAMILY & PEERS
LOCAL COMMUNITY
NATIONAL
HEALTH HARMS
Physical health problems
Emotional distress / stressinduced ill-health
Mental health problems
Health consequences of
domestic abuse
Disease transmission
Disease transmission
SOCIAL/STRUCTURAL HARMS
Spiralling criminality
Social exclusion
Fear & sense of disorder
Normalisation of drug use
Involvement in sex trade
Fear for own & families
safety
Normalisation of drug use
Loss of public confidence in
institutions
Social exclusion
Normalisation of drug use
Development of street gangs
ECONOMIC HARMS
Cost of drug use
Reduced income following
imprisonment/fines
Enforcement costs
Enforcement costs
Impact on employment
Reduced income following
job/benefits loss
CJS costs
CJS costs
ENVIRONMENTAL HARMS
Degradation of neighbourhoods:
eg discarded paraphernalia
Hazards of illicit labs/ cannabis
farms etc
Problem analysis framework
Problem
Leads to …
Resultant harm
Who experiences it
Visible
drug
dealing
People afraid to be in the area
Mental distress
Local community
People avoid the area
Loss of amenity
Local community
Loss of business
Local businesses
Property values/ rents decline
Local property owners
Decreased co-operation
Local institution (police)
Alienation / loss of social
cohesion
Local community/
individuals
Health problems
Individuals
Increased truancy & ed failure
Individuals
Mental distress
Families
Health problems
Individual users
Increasing truancy & school
failure
Individual users
Mental distress
Families
Increased acquisitive crime
Local community
Loss of confidence in the police
Drug use considered normal so YP
more likely to initiate use
Easy access to drugs so increased
use
Easy access to drugs attracts users
Examples of operational approaches
1.
Targeting particularly harmful individuals or
activities
– Diverting PDU offenders into treatment (eg DIP)
– Pro-active engagement (eg PPO and assertive
outreach as in Operation Reduction & Iceberg)
– Prioritising individuals or OCGs on the basis of the
harm they cause (eg Operation Grasslands, OCG
harm risk matrices)
– Using POCA effectively (Operation Macarise)
Examples of operational approaches
2.
Place-based enforcement
–
–
3.
Wide range of measures available eg CCTV,
redesigning spaces, high visibility policing,
intelligence-led investigation
Multi-component, multi-agency approaches needed
for sustainability (eg Operation Nemesis)
Targeting behaviours
–
–
–
Boston Gun Project
Targeting landlords / suppliers of cutting agents or
financial services
Use of civil powers
Possible impact measures








Intelligence – including crime
and OGC mapping
Crimestoppers and other crime
reports
National surveys and data
Community surveys
Forensic information
Partner agency data – use and
costs associated with services,
etc.
Crime stats, CJS stats and
drug/asset seizures
MOSAIC and other
demographic data








Audits/observations – e.g.
environmental.
Community feedback
mechanisms (e.g. blogs)
Private sector partner
information (businesses etc)
Corruption incidences
House price data
Interviews/surveys with
criminals, police, victims.
ANPR (Automatic Number
Plate Recognition).
Media Coverage
Potential benefits of this approach





Improve partnership-working through
common language and objectives
Harm-related objectives lead to alternative
measures of impact (both positive & negative)
and better understanding of cost-effectiveness
May be spur to innovation & development of
new tactics
Improve communication with communities
and greater recognition of impact of
enforcement
Real impact on drug harms
Project outputs – reports

Essays

Overall project report

Policy briefing

????
Further development / challenges

Linking harm into current enforcement
practice

Political / media / public perceptions

Prioritisation of harms

Measurement
Questions and feedback
For more information contact:
Nicola Singleton [email protected]
or visit http://www.ukdpc.org.uk
Download

Nicola Singleston: Impact on harms via drug