Substance Abuse Intelligence Desks (SAIDs) at Alice Springs, Katherine and Marla have been funded by FaHCSIA to target and disrupt the trafficking of licit and illicit substances in the cross-border region of the Centre in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and in the Top End.
The first Australian Government funded Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk (SAID) was established in 2006 under a FaHCSIA - Northern Territory Police partnership to address substance abuse within Indigenous communities, support the National Petrol Sniffing Strategy and target drug/alcohol trafficking in Central Australia.
Alice Springs SAID commenced operation in January 2006, Katherine SAID in February 2009 and Marla, South Australia, in July 2009.
The SAIDs also coordinate a multi-jurisdictional partnership involving police in the NT, SA and WA, together with FaHCSIA, to reduce the supply of licit and illicit substances in the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Lands.
The SAIDs are staffed by sworn NT and SA Police officers who work collaboratively with WA police to gather intelligence and conduct covert and overt enforcement and disruption activities.
The role of the SAIDs is to:
- gather intelligence on suppliers and criminal networks
- coordinate policing operations in the tri-state region of NT, SA, WA and the Top End targeting traffickers of drugs, alcohol, petrol, kava and other illicit substances
- conduct covert and overt enforcement and disruption activities
- educate communities and leaders on the role of the SAID, especially through youth initiatives about the dangers of alcohol, petrol and substance abuse
- support and promote our Indigenous Family Safety Agenda, and
- pursue traffickers under proceeds of crime legislation to strip them of their money and assets.
Dog Operation Units (DOUs) funded by the Australian Government are located in Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin and work collaboratively with the SAID teams.
The SAIDs and DOUs are engaged with young people to promote healthy lifestyles, and in recent times have passed on promotional products during remote community visits including baseball caps, drink bottles, frisbees and small footballs, all of which carry the following message tostrongly support community safety.
You and me keeping it drug and alcohol free
The SAIDs and FaHCSIA have built up a strong rapport with other government and non-government organisations to promote their work and have delivered many presentations during the past 12 months, including to the Australian National Council on Drugs and Australasian Drug Strategy Conference. A further presentation will be given to the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology in September 2010 by the Alice Springs SAID.
The effectiveness of the SAIDs and DOUs has contributed to key outcomes under the Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement and to the Closing the Gap agenda. There has been an outstanding level of cooperation between the state/territory police and the Australian Government.
Substance Abuse Operations Section
The Substance Abuse Operations Section (SAOS) of FaHCSIA:
- manages and monitors the funding agreements for the SAIDs and DOUs
- identifies key strategies and tactical issues to assist in the reduction of substance abuse in remote Indigenous communities, and
- ensures both SAID and DOU resources are deployed in the tri-state regions on a regular basis.
Regular liaison with the relevant police services is vital.
Additional SAOS key responsibilities include:
- supporting the NTER, petrol sniffing strategies and assisting with reporting to government and the department about enforcement and prevention strategies through SAID/DOU monthly reporting
- being a key stakeholder in the Indigenous Family Safety Agenda and applying strategies to reduce violence by supporting alcohol management plans, youth initiatives, working to improve communication and information sharing between agencies, police and service networks
- continuing to promote the work of the SAOS and SAIDs through the Australian National Council on Drugs, the Australasian Drug Strategy Conference, the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology and networks generally, including Government Business Managers, and
- assisting nationally with policy development and timely information about substance abuse issues, including incidents, outcomes and reduction strategies.
Substance Abuse Operations Section
Indigenous Programs Branch, FaHCSIA
John Lee – Section Manager
02 6121 4748 0418 570 036
Lisa Lovett – Assistant Section Manager
02 6121 4224 0457 529 671