Online from: 1988
Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management
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|Title:||Australian Federal Police drug investigations: benefit-cost analysis|
|Author(s):||Michael McFadden, (Social Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), Toni-Lee Porter, (Australian Federal Police, Canberra, Australia)|
|Citation:||Michael McFadden, Toni-Lee Porter, (2011) "Australian Federal Police drug investigations: benefit-cost analysis", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 24 Iss: 4, pp.368 - 378|
|Keywords:||Australia, Cost benefit analysis, Drugs, Law enforcement, Performance measurement (quality)|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09513551111133506 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the social impact, i.e. the estimated return to the Australian community, of Australian Federal Police (AFP) drug law enforcement effort in general and the relative success of specific policy initiatives.
Design/methodology/approach – Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) was employed in the assessment of 2,716 drug investigations that took place between 2000 and 2005. Costs associated with the Australian Customs Service, the legal process and prisons were included. Benefits related to the economic estimate of reduced harm in terms of death and injury, crime, reduced productivity, and pain and suffering associated with the use of illicit drugs.
Findings – The results suggest that the Australian community receives $5.80 of benefit in terms of potential harm avoided for every dollar invested in drug law enforcement. Specific policy initiatives were found to result in higher than average returns: investigations involving domestic and international partners ($6.00 and $9.20 respectively), an emphasis on serious and complex crime ($9.20), and intelligence-led policing ($7.90).
Research limitation/implications – The estimation of economic benefits is the most contentious area of the study. The AFP is undertaking a review of its estimation of benefits.
Originality/value – The results suggest that AFP drug law enforcement provides a positive contribution to the wellbeing of the Australian community. Furthermore, the findings indicate that specific drug law enforcement initiatives enhance the relative effectiveness of drug law enforcement in Australia. The study also provides an example to other public sector agencies of the use of BCA to determine the social impact of their policies.
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