Coordination and engagement
Facilitating interagency coordination, cooperation and support is an important aspect of a volatile substance use (VSU) response for which police have joint responsibility (Nicholas, 2007).
There are a number of strategies police can take to improve interagency coordination and cooperation. These include:
- establishing formal memoranda of understanding between agencies regarding their respective roles
- regularly attending inter-agency meetings to exchange information and explore ways of enhancing current responses
- providing support to community groups also seeking to address VSU
- taking a lead role in the development of new initiatives – including calling meetings to discuss volatile substance misuse and to canvas views on possible responses.
There are a number of coordinated, multi-agency VSU strategies in place to address VSU in some regions and towns in WA. For more information about what is happening in your region or town, or in other regions of WA, see the Working Groups in WA page of this website.
If there is no coordinated VSU strategy in your town or region, you can establish and formalise a collaborative approach with other agencies involved in responding to VSU. For more information about how to do so, see the Developing a community response page of this website or contact the Volatile Substance Program at the Mental Health Commission.
Community engagement activities which police have joint responsibility for include involvement with the provision of diversion activities for young people including camps, sporting activities or cultural activities (Australasian Centre for Policing Research, 2004). Keeping young people engaged is a crucial demand reduction strategy as boredom is often cited as a reason for VSU, particularly in rural or remote locations.
Community engagement through activities such as these will also encourage the development of positive relationships with both young people and the broader community.