Last Drink Survey - AHW Model: An Overview
The Last Drink Survey (LDS) was the method by which alcohol related offence information is collected by police officers at the time of an arrest, or when issuing a summons notice to an offender.
The limitations of the LDS were acknowledged. It is accepted that the LDS was not a random survey, and that the information captured was a reflection of police planning and priorities.
The LDS team at Alcohol Healthwatch carried out 7 LDS projects in the Auckland region. The project areas were based on the areas associated with the 3 Auckland police districts, ie:
- Waitakere City, North Shore, Rodney District
- Auckland City
- Manukau City, Papakura District, Franklin District
Whenever alcohol is identified as having been consumed by an alleged offender prior to committing an offence, the apprehending officer collects details about their last drink such as:
- where it was consumed
- where it was purchased
- the time it was consumed
- had alcohol been consumed at any other location/s in the last four hours
Alcohol Healthwatch LDS Co-ordinators collate the data and produce monthly spreadsheets. These are provided monthly to:
- representatives of the statutory agencies involved in the liquor licensing process (i.e the local Liquor Liaison Group [LLG])
- community organisations (minus identifying information)
- the licensees, who receive data specific to their own premises
At monthly Liquor Liaison Group (LLG) meetings, strategies are discussed, taking into account the LDS information, and reports (including anecdotal) from the statutory agencies. Reports from night visits are discussed, and letters and documented information from phone contacts with licensees are provided.
Licensees receive their data by mail (following the LLG meeting) accompanied by a letter in which they are asked to pay particular attention to entries where it has been obvious to the apprehending officer:
- that the alleged offender was moderately or extremely intoxicated
- or if the Breath Test Reading level was 600mcg/l or more
This information is provided to the licensees for their use as a management tool.
The purpose behind night visits is to assist the licensees to improve management practices, thus alleviating the local police workload, and making it less likely that the licensee may end up involved in the court process. This benefits the local community by reducing alcohol related harm.
Local LDS information can be utilised in community development initiatives. Eg. In March 2001, an LDS co-ordinator was asked to give a presentation at the Franklin District General Practioners alcohol assessment training programme. The presentation profiled local recidivist drink drive offenders identified through the LDS. The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC)-driven Manukau Youth Access to Alcohol project has been another example of LDS information being utilised within a community.
The LDS co-ordinators provide premise specific information and appear at Liquor Licensing Authority hearings to present a brief of evidence on behalf of local police. On these occasions, the LDS spreadsheets, letters and reports (discussed earlier in this document) are produced to show the process of interaction with the licensee over time.
The significance of the Alcohol Healthwatch LDS data has been recognised at High Court level (see pg 7, Chef & Brewer Bar and Café decision, 16 February 1995).
The Alcohol Healthwatch model of the Last Drink Survey continues to be refined and developed to meet the needs of its users. It is currently being externally evaluated.