Review of the Substance Abuse Intelligence Desks and Dog Operation Units - 2007

Aim of the publication

The review provides a compilation of program analysis and output information, statistical data, and semi-structured interviews, from March through to June 2011. The Substance Abuse Intelligence Desks (SAID), Dog Operation Units (DOUs) make a significant contribution to addressing and reducing the supply of illicit substances into remote Aboriginal communities.

Target audience

Commissioned by the Performance and Evaluation Branch in FaHCSIA, the consultants acknowledge the assistance of key people in the field and service providers who assist those affected by substance misuse issues. The use of sniffer dogs is a successful and widely used practise in detecting illicit substances.

Content of the publication

The SAID / DOU’s development has been successful since its inception in 2006, with expansion over five years to include 10 staff positions and seven dogs in the NT and one staff position in SA.   The review provides an understanding to the reader on process and protocol of the SAID/DOUs in;

  • gathering intelligence on suppliers and criminal networks involved in illicit substance trafficking, 
  • coordinating policing operations related to illicit substance trafficking in the tri-border region in central Australia and in the north NT, and
  • conducting enforcement and disruption activities.

Future directions stressed the importance of continuing to address the supply of cannabis and kava due to the often devastating impact on of these substances on an individual’s health, and of the trade on communities’ economic and social well-being. Areas for improvement to the SAID/DOUs identified by stakeholders related to increased capacity, improved communication and improved co-ordination.

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