What happens when a person is apprehended for a minor drugs offence?
The police officer will investigate the offence, question the person, and determine if they are eligible for drug diversion.
If the person meets the eligibility criteria the officer will offer the person an opportunity to participate in a drug diversion assessment program. This offer will include information on the nature of the drug diversion assessment program, the benefits of participating in, and completing, the programme and the consequences of not participating in, and completing, the programme.
Where a person agrees to participate in a drug diversion assessment program, the officer will make a program appointment with the closest available provider. The program is only available in Queensland and a person may need to travel to another town to attend. Where practicable, and if providers are available, an appointment will be made to take into account concerns about privacy or to help people who normally live or work in another town to attend at a convenient location.
Once the program appointment has been made the person must sign a QP 0701: 'Minor Drugs Offence Diversion (Agreement and Requirement to Participate in, and Complete, or Refusal of Officer)' form acknowledging that they agree to participate in, and complete, the program appointment in the manner and at the date, time and place (if applicable) detailed in the QP 0701 form. The officer will give them a copy of the form and warn them of the consequences of failing to participate in, and complete, the program appointment.
If the person does not sign the QP 0701 form the officer will proceed as if the offer had been refused and commence a prosecution as normal in respect of the minor drugs offence.
Children, people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people from non-English speaking backgrounds will be provided with access to appropriate persons for support and advice, in accordance with requirements under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000.
Is drug diversion available to children?
Yes. A police officer must offer all eligible adults and children, who have previously been cautioned for a minor drugs offence, the opportunity to participate in a drug diversion assessment program. An offer to participate in a drug diversion assessment program may also be made to an eligible child who has not previously been cautioned.
How many times can drug diversion be offered?
Police can only offer drug diversion once. If a person refuses the offer, or agrees to the offer but does not participate in, and complete, the drug diversion assessment program, no further offer will be made. That means, if the person is apprehended for another minor drugs offence they will not be offered drug diversion.
What is involved in the program appointment?
A qualified Queensland Health program provider, specially trained to deliver the drug diversion assessment program, will conduct a combined assessment, education and counselling session with the person. This will take about two hours. Program appointments will normally be available between 9am and 5pm weekdays.
During the assessment the person will be asked how much and how often they use illicit drugs such as cannabis and the situations in which they use them. They will also be asked if they have any problems that may influence their drug use. The education session will provide information on the health effects of illicit drug use and the legal consequences of continued use. The person may be shown a video and will be given printed information on illicit drugs. The provider and the person will work together to develop a personal plan to help him or her to stop using illicit drugs.
If appropriate, the person may also be given information about, and access to, a treatment programme for illicit drug dependence. Attending a treatment programme is voluntary, and is not part of the police requirement.
People offered drug diversion are encouraged to take a family member or a friend with them to the program appointment. This should be someone who the person feels will support and help them to make positive changes and stop their illicit drug use.
What happens if I fail to make my program appointment?
Failure to participate in, and complete, the program appointment in the manner, and at the date, time and place (if applicable) agreed is an offence against s. 791: 'Contravene direction of a Police Officer' of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000. If you fail to participate in, and complete, your program appointment police will investigate the matter, and you may be charged with this offence and have to attend court.
You are responsible for making all arrangements necessary for you to participate in, and complete, the program appointment as agreed. This includes organising reliable transport or time away from work.
The police officer will give you a copy of your QP 0701: 'Minor Drugs Offence Diversion (Agreement and Requirement to Participate in, and Complete, or Refusal of Officer)' form. You should keep this in a safe place, in case you have to check the details of your appointment, and take it with you to your program appointment.
What should I do if I can't make or have missed my program appointment?
In exceptional circumstances, such as you are hospitalised or there is a death in your immediate family, you may be able to arrange an alternative appointment.
You should contact the police officer you originally dealt with, or your local police station, as soon as possible to discuss your situation. You will need to provide the officer with any appropriate documents i.e. a medical certificate.
Is information given during my program appointment confidential?
All information given by you to the program provider is strictly confidential. Police will only be advised about whether or not you participated in, and completed, your program appointment.