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[101] 28 september 2020: Street-level drug law enforcement: An updated systematic review

Inleiding en context

Maandagochtend 28 september 2020, ik heb heerlijk vakantie gevierd in Duitsland. Fietsen en wandelen, mooie steden gezien, aardige mensen, de gruwelijke waarheid van Dachau gezien en in het brein opgenomen. En als toetje Houffalize in de Ardennen waar de tijd stil lijkt te staan. Kortom: na een heerlijke vakantie nu weer aan de bak vanachter mij Acer Gromebook. En natuurlijk weer een nieuwe ´kennisparel´. Ik heb tijdens mijn vakantie besloten om de frequentie van verzending wat terug te draaien. Niet meer elke dag een pareltje, maar wel regelmatig om de herkenbaarheid te garanderen. Hopelijk kunnen jullie, bijna 900 ontvangers van deze pareltjes, de tijd opbrengen om ze af en toe te lezen en vooral te gebruiken in jullie dagelijkse (beleid)werkzaamheden.

Vanochtend een recente onderzoeksynthese naar de mate waarin de politie in staat is om drugs gerelateerde problematiek op straatniveau tegen te gaan. Het blijkt dat een gefocuste aanpak effectief is. Vooral waar samenwerkingsverbanden met ander organisaties worden toegepast. Oftewel, de Nederlandse aanpak waarin op dit moment met andere partijen wordt getracht om drugsproblematiek op stedelijk niveau aan te pakken blijkt ook internationaal succesvol te zijn. Onderstaande samenvatting van bijgesloten recente onderzoeksynthese kan dus als stimulans dienen om deze aanpak verder vorm te geven.   

Bron

Mazerolle, Lorraine Elizabeth Eggins & Angela Higginson (September 2020). Street-level drug law enforcement: An updated systematic review. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, September 2020.  https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/ti599_street-level_drug_law_enforcement.pdf

Samenvatting

The Global Policing Database is used to update a 2007 systematic review of the impact of street-level law enforcement interventions on drug crime and drug-related calls-for-service. A total of 26 studies (reported in 29 documents) were eligible for this updated review. Eighteen of the 26 studies reported sufficient data to calculate effect sizes.

We find that, overall, street-level policing approaches are effective in reducing drug crime, particularly those involving partnerships. We also find that geographically targeted law enforcement interventions are more effective in reducing drug crime than standard, unfocused approaches. Approaches that target larger problem areas for intervention are more effective for reducing drug crime (but not calls-for-service) than approaches that focus on micro problem places.

A 2007 Campbell Collaboration systematic review of the effectiveness of street-level drug law enforcement activities found that proactive interventions (such as problem-oriented, partnership and community-wide policing approaches) were more effective at reducing drug-related calls-for-service and drug crime than business-as-usual or ‘standard’ (usually reactive) law enforcement tactics. Since 2004, when the literature search for the 2007 review was conducted, the landscape around street-level drug law enforcement has changed. Police now face a range of new and emerging drug problems, including synthetic and prescription drugs and new forms of street-level drug distribution, including online markets and postal services for purchasing and distributing illicit substances. In addition, the Global Policing Database demonstrates that high-quality impact evaluations of policing interventions have trebled since 2004. Therefore, there is a need to understand whether the findings of the previous review are still applicable, given the shifts in the drug landscape and the increase in evaluations of police practice. This report updates the 2007 review, and provides the most up-to-date and high-quality evidence to inform policy and practice on street-level drug law enforcement.

This updated review of the impact of street-level drug law enforcement interventions on drug-related crime and calls-for-service highlights four key points. First, we note the substantial increase in the number of high-quality impact evaluations of place-focused drug law enforcement interventions since the original review in 2007. However, even with this increase in high-quality studies, we still observe a general lack of high-quality impact evaluations outside of the United States and a dearth of randomised controlled trials testing the effectiveness of place-focused drug law enforcement interventions in Australia, despite this trial type being the most robust method for determining whether or not an intervention works.

Second, we find that geographically targeted law enforcement interventions, overall, appear more effective for reducing drug crime than standard, unfocused approaches to street-level drug law enforcement. Nonetheless, the evidence around the effectiveness of place-focused drug law enforcement is less compelling when we consider drug-related calls-for-service as the measured outcome. This suggests that citizens may be not be as aware of drug dealing at the micro-place level (or perhaps not as willing to call the police), which is consistent with the findings of the original review.

Third, consistent with the 2007 review, we find that proactive problem-oriented and community-wide interventions, where police services partner with other entities, are more effective in reducing drug-related crime and calls-for-service than reactive hotspots interventions. As with the original review, we suggest that partnership approaches to tackling street-level crime problems are more effective ways for reducing ongoing drug problems than police working alone or in a reactive manner (eg hotspots policing or directed patrols).

Fourth, we find that street-level drug law enforcement approaches that focus on larger problem areas, such as neighbourhoods, suburbs and beats, tend to be more effective than approaches that focus on smaller, more micro problem places. Whether they are part of a community-wide or a problem-focused intervention, partnership approaches are likely easier to forge when they are focused on large geographic areas, like whole neighbourhoods or communities. In Australia, these could be partnerships with local drug treatment centres, city councils, local health and welfare clinics or community organisations (eg Neighbourhood Watch). These types of partners are likely to work across broad geographic areas rather than being narrowly focused on micro places.

It may even be that the greater availability of partners at a broader, community-wide level is the reason why street-level drug law enforcement approaches are found to be more effective in larger problem areas than in micro places.

We recognise some limitations of our review. First, this is a partial update of the 2007 Campbell Collaboration review conducted by Mazerolle, Soole and Rombouts. We recognise in particular the changing landscape of street-level illicit drug use, particularly relating to the use of prescription drugs. Nevertheless, we have opted to retain the original eligibility criteria used in the 2007 review and have excluded studies focused on prescription drugs. However, we suggest that a new review that looks broadly at multi-sector responses to illicit prescription-drug use and distribution is needed. These new categories of drug use may or may not respond to street-level drug law enforcement interventions in the same way as is found in this review. Overall, we recommend that practitioners and policymakers focus on community-level, partnership approaches to tackling street-level drug problems in Australia.

Afsluitend

Een positieve uitkomst dus waar het de politiële aanpak van druggerelateerde straatcriminaliteit betreft. Alweer een mooi voorbeeld hoe geleerd kan worden van ervaringen elders. Voor de Nederlandse politiepraktijk opnieuw een mooi voorbeeld hoe op effectieve wijze interventies, zowel preventief als repressief, kunnen worden toegepast. Kennis om van te leren, en vooral om praktijkmensen te stimuleren om hier gebruik van te maken. We kunnen veel leren van de beschikbare kennis op het terrein van criminaliteit en rechtshandhaving, maak daar vooral gebruik van. De komende tijd ontvangen jullie weer regelmatig zogenaamde ´kennisparels´. Niet meer met een dagelijkse frequentie, maar wel regelmatig.