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Organisational barriers and facilitators to the effective operation of Random Breath Testing (RBT) in Queensland

Hart, Susan (2004) Organisational barriers and facilitators to the effective operation of Random Breath Testing (RBT) in Queensland. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Random breath testing (RBT) is one of the most successful drink driving countermeasures employed by police in Australia. Its success over the years has been evidenced by reductions in drink driving behaviour, reductions in alcohol-related crashes and fatal crashes and a corresponding community-wide increase in the disapproval of drink driving. Although a great deal of research has been able to highlight the relationship between increased police enforcement and road safety benefits, little is known about the organisational factors that assist or hinder the management and operation of RBT. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the perceived barriers and facilitators to the effective operation of RBT in the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Findings will have human resource implications for the QPS and will highlight areas that are currently functioning effectively.-----

Study One involved 22 semi-structured interviews with 36 QPS managers involved in the day-to-day organisation and delivery of RBT operations. Managers were recruited with assistance from members of the QPS's State Traffic Support Branch. The interviews were approximately one hour long and involved exploration of the perceptions of managers involved in the planning and delivery of RBT operations using the concept of organisational alignment to structure the interviews. The results revealed that RBT management activity is facilitated by a range of factors, including: the belief in the importance of RBT; belief that the purpose of RBT has both a deterrent function and a detection function; the increasing use of intelligence to guide RBT strategies; the increasing use of RBT to support other crime reduction strategies; and a genuine desire to improve the current state of affairs. However, a number of apparent barriers to the effective operation of RBT were identified. These included concern about the strategy of the 1.1 testing strategy (i.e. conducting the equivalent of one test per licensed driver per annum), a misunderstanding of the role of general and specific deterrence and a lack of feedback in relation to the success of RBT.-----

The second study involved a questionnaire that was distributed to a random sample of 950 operational police stratified across the regions who are responsible for undertaking RBT on a regular basis. There were 421 questionnaires returned representing a response rate of 44%. Questionnaires were also based on the concepts and constructs of organisational alignment and explored perceptions, beliefs and self- reported behaviour of officers. The results revealed that facilitating factors included a belief in QPS ownership of the RBT program, the agreement that the RBT vision includes road safety goals and apprehension goals, and overall motivation, support and belief in their capability to carry out RBT duties. Barriers included perceived strain related to the 1:1 testing strategy, the lack of feedback in relation to the success of RBT, misunderstanding about the role of deterrence and lack of rewards for participating in RBT duties.-----

The results of both studies have implications for the planning and operation of RBT in the QPS. While the findings revealed that there were many aspects of the RBT program that were currently aligned with best practice guidelines, there are areas of misalignment. In particular, the main areas of misalignment included concern about the strain caused by the current 1:1 testing strategy, a lack of feedback about the success of RBT and a lack of education of the nature and role of deterrence in road safety and RBT operations in particular.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16451
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Watson, Barry
Keywords: random breath testing, drink driving, enforcement, road safety, deterrence, organisational alignment
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Department: Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Susan Hart
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 14:03
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:48

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