EXECUTIVE SUMMARY / In one short paragraph please describe this project is about, what it has achieved, and why it is delivering excellence.
The Scottish Alcohol Needs Assessment 2009 revealed that 31% of Fife’s adult population drink harmfully or hazardously, this equates to 94,065. This figure is more than the capacity at T in the Park and almost doubles the capacity at Hampden Stadium.
The Scottish Health Survey 2010 showed that excessive weekly alcohol consumption, and the prevalence of drunkenness was highest in both men and women aged 16-25. The volume of alcohol consumed by this age group is far higher than in England, men aged 25-34 also have similar rates of binge drinking (of 8 units and above).
The Alcohol Diversion Scheme is not aimed at the habitual criminal but focuses on those persons who through binge drinking commit low-level antisocial behaviour crimes. It contributes to the Governments objectives of Healthier and Safer & Stronger. The scheme not only improves health & quality of life but also tackles the misuse of alcohol, the associated violence that can go with it and improves community and personal safety.
The Alcohol Diversion Scheme is an early and effective intervention driven by the Anti Social Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004. Where an individual gets a Fixed Penalty Notice for an offence, which was influenced by alcohol they are offered a chance to waive the £40 fine if they attend and complete an alcohol awareness session delivered by Fife Alcohol Support Service.
The scheme reduces a binge drinker's chance of becoming a future victim or offender in the criminal justice system, raises awareness of alcohol and its effect on the person and their wellbeing, and the wider community. This is an innovative and creative scheme. It has examined how we can tackle a problem using an existing framework and adapting it. Using a carrot and stick approach individuals involved in binge drinking are provided with positive ways to make small changes to their drinking behaviour to not only improve their health but to keep them and the community safer. It reaches primarily, but not exclusively, males aged 16-25 who binge drink who without this scheme would have no recourse to this type of input.PLANNING / · a clear rationale, defined processes and focus on stakeholder needs
· contributes to organisation’s goals and addresses current or emerging challenges
As mentioned above 31% of Fife's adult population drink harmfully or hazardously. Binge drinking was identified as a major issue in relation to incidents of disorder primarily in the nighttime economy. Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 introduced the fixed penalty notice of £40 (ASBFPN) that can be issued to an individual who has committed relevant ASB offences. This provided a method of quickly dealing with the particular offence as it is committed and was enforcement based.
The typical individuals who received the ASBFPN were not hardened criminals but normally law abiding citizens under the influence of alcohol. However, it became evident that there was nothing in place to advise these individuals of the consequences of binge drinking which led them to commit the offence and the effects it has on them and the community. This gave a clear rationale to build preventative work around binge drinking.
Inspector Dave Latto and Michelle Burnett, Fife Constabulary Alcohol Liaison Officer carried out some research in 2009 and it was ascertained that Hertfordshire Police in conjunction with Druglink UK provided an alcohol awareness scheme based on the Public Order Act which allowed police officers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices of £80 for incidents of disorder. Their scheme allowed an individual to attend a brief intervention session for a reduced fee of £40, which was paid to Druglink UK.
After studying this scheme it was clear that it could be replicated in Fife, but would need to be altered to reflect Scottish law. This was recognised as an excellent opportunity to engage with binge drinkers improving their health and reducing offending whilst creating safer communities.
Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS) were contacted and agreed to develop and run the scheme. FASS is a charitable organisation based in Kirkcaldy but covers all areas in Fife. They are experienced alcohol counsellors using the brief intervention model in a health care setting. The challenge for them was to adapt this into a community safety setting and alter the content to suit.
The process would work as follows (simplified version):
- An individual commits an ASB type offence and alcohol has been a factor;
- Police Officer issues individual with £40 fine;
- Through suitable information sharing protocol between partners FASS would contact the individual offering the opportunity to attend a session and waive the £40;
- If individual attends and completes the session FASS inform the Police and the fine is waived;
- If no attendance then the fine stands;
- This process must take place within the time constraints of the legislation; and
- It was anticipated that 20% of those referred would attend (based on Herts. figs of 18% attendance)
This scheme would contribute to organisational goals through the 'Creating Safer Communities' pillar of the Fife Constabulary Policing Plan, reducing antisocial behaviour.
It links with the Fife Alcohol and Drug Partnership strategy in delivering early and effective interventions in relation to alcohol misuse, and, the Fife Community Safety Strategy where alcohol misuse is a cross cutting theme across all priorities.
The Service is delivered in line with NHS SIGN 74 Guidelines: Management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence in primary care which aims at reducing the impact on health services through alcohol misuse.DELIVERING / · implemented in all relevant areas and across all the required stakeholders
· carried out in a structured and logical way , using robust and sustainable methods
Fife Constabulary issue Antisocial Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices (AFPN's) across Fife. Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS) is a charitable organisation based in Kirkcaldy but covers all areas in Fife, therefore this scheme could be delivered Fife wide and reach all stakeholders. To enable this to occur in Fife we had to get agreement from a variety of partners.
The ASB FPN fines are paid to the Sheriff Clerk's office in Fife. This was seen as the greatest barrier, however on contact with them they agreed that we could have the authority to waive the £40 if the individual attends the session with FASS.
A range of other partners were consulted with including Fife Community Safety Partnership, Fife Alcohol and Drug Partnership, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, FASS and Fife Constabulary and as a result, Fife Alcohol Diversion Scheme was created.
FASS created the content for brief intervention session and Fife Constabulary arranged the processes to enable the scheme to operate. This involved training for front line Police Officers on how the scheme would operate. Also training given to back office staff on the administration of the scheme. As the ASB FPN were already in place there was minimal impact on front line Policing, as the officers were already engaged in issuing the FPN's, likewise for back office staff.
Once the structure of the processes was in place and the content of the session agreed a tester session was held with staff from Fife Community Safety Partnership. This was to test the scheme and ensure it was fit for practice, which it did.
As a result of this it was decided to run the scheme as a pilot in Kirkcaldy for a 6-month period from July 2009 funded by Fife Community Safety Partnership. The University of St Andrews evaluated the pilot. The results from the evaluation were positive in that reductions in repeat offending were achieved and those participating in the course stated they would think about changing their relationship with alcohol.
In view of this and in consultation with partners it was agreed to roll the scheme out Fife wide. Planning for this took place and funding was achieved from Fife Alcohol and Drug Partnership. The scheme was rolled out Fife wide in September 2010 (during the interim period it continued in Kdy). Again a yearlong evaluation ran along side it carried out by the University of St Andrews with the full report being available in October 2011.
The scheme is sustainable in its processes and content, which is regularly reviewed. The funding is tied into the current financial constraints and uncertainty, as FASS had to employ additional part-time staff to assist in co-ordinating and administering the scheme.INNOVATION + LEADING PRACTICE / · Demonstrates leading practice, and is capable of replication elsewhere
· Achieves genuine innovation or new ways of working
The Alcohol Diversion Scheme is the only such scheme operating in Scotland. It is highlighted with the Scottish Policing Strategy 2011-2015 as best practice in innovative ways to address alcohol misuse. It was highly commended at the Scottish Policing awards 2010.
To date presentations of the scheme have been delivered at the Scottish Police College as part of the National Violence Reduction Unit seminar and to the SG, Equally Well Test site seminar in Kirkcaldy.
Local presentations have been given to a number of other Scottish Police Force representatives and plans to replicate the scheme are being developed in two of these areas at present. Professor Donnelly from the University of St Andrews is also a supporter of this scheme.
The intention is to develop the existing process to allow it to take referrals from other agencies, such as Fife Youth Offender Management Group to assist young people with alcohol related issues. We are also working with Fife Fire and Rescue service to identify vulnerable individuals who may be at risk of setting through alcohol misuse in the home.RESULTS + IMPACT / · a convincing mix of customer and internal performance measures
· clear line of sight to the delivery of better outcomes for communities
· a full range of relevant results– either already achieved or with potential to deliver over time
Although the final evaluation from the University of St Andrews is not yet available we have obtained the following information for this application:
- 1389 individuals have been referred to FASS between September 2010 and September 2011;
- Of those 394 attended the sessions = 28% attendance rate;
- 38 of those 394 have re-offended = 9.6%;
- Of 394 randomly selected persons who were offered but did not attend a session, 88 people had re-offended = 22.3%; and
- 955 males aged 16-25 were referred with 233 attending = 66%
The full evaluation looks at feedback from participants at the course on attitude change. Early indications are that the reason for attending was to save £40. However, they indicated significant improvement in their awareness of alcohol and how to drink safely and they would do so in future. Regarding awareness of what a unit of alcohol was this requires further development, as the retention was poor.
Focus groups were also held with Police Officers and Police Staff along with FASS, which provided useful information to further improve the course.
The main outcomes have been met in that there has been a reduction in re-offending, 66% of attendees were males aged 16-25 and the vast majority of attendees indicated that they had information which they could use to change their attitude towards their level of alcohol consumption.
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