The Communities Against Substance Misuse Project

Siobhan Allen1, Peter Lunney1, Kierryn Graf1
1Queensland Police Service, Brisbane, Australia

The Communities Against Substance Misuse Project, known as Project CASM, sought to provide a diversionary and protective approach to reduce youth volatile substance misuse (VSM) in Brisbane, through retailer engagement, street outreach, and police upskilling. The overarching goal for Project CASM is to reduce the prevalence of offending behaviours associated with VSM. The success of this project in achieving this goal was measured through three short-term objectives. These are to educate and train staff at retail outlets about preventing VSM, to facilitate effective street outreach responses to hotspots of youth group activity at high risk locations, and to up-skill first response police in the recording of VSM incidents. Collectively, the retailer engagement, street outreach, and officer upskilling may have reduced the number of VSM-related incidents in Brisbane. The retailer engagement, which comprised of police officer store visits and a separate police presentation to retailers, was positive. Retailers demonstrated an increase in their understanding of how to recognise and respond to issues regarding VSM for their stores, as well as an increased confidence in the police. The sentiment provided by a non-government organisation regarding the street outreach was positive, however, the effectiveness of the street outreach was not evident. The upskilling of officers through repeated reminders regarding recording VSM occurrences demonstrated improvement over time. Based on limitations to meet all short-term objectives, consideration and recommendations are provided to be considered for the long-term objectives. A new approach is presented that demonstrates one way that the future of Project CASM may operate.

Siobhan Allen is a Senior Research Officer in the Research and Evaluation Unit at the Queensland Police Service. She is also completing her PhD at Griffith University exploring the policing of youth at mass events. She has worked in a research capacity at the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), Griffith Criminology Institute (GCI), Griffith University, and the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, Queensland (CARRS-Q). Her research publications and interests include policing, youth offending, procedural justice, and graduated driver licensing.

Peter Lunney is a Senior Investigator in the Brisbane City Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU) at the Queensland Police Service. He has been a member of the Queensland Police Service for over 17 years. Most of his service has been in an investigative role in predominantly indigenous and rural areas including the Kingaroy CPIU and as the Officer in Charge of the Murgon Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). His policing interests include indigenous youth justice and developing child protection engagement for indigenous families.


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