This research project will look at parenting interventions which may be adapted for non-substance misusing parents and caregivers within families where one parent misuses substances.
April 2018 - September 2019
April 2014 - September 2016
Alcohol has been found to be a factor in half of all violent crimes and around a quarter of police time is spent on alcohol-related incidents. The use of brief alcohol advice or brief counselling can help people reduce heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems. However, most studies have been carried out in health settings. The purpose of this study is to find out whether it is possible to use similar alcohol advice or counselling interventions in police custody suites with people who have been arrested.
SPHR researchers carried out a pilot feasibility randomised controlled trial (three arms) to see if staff based in police custody suites could screen arrestees for alcohol use and deliver brief advice or brief counselling. To measure if a full trial of alcohol screening and brief intervention was feasible a minimum of 60 participants had to be recruited to each arm, the intervention had to be successfully delivered, and at least half contacted one year after arrest. Researchers also explored if the study was acceptable to staff and arrestees.
Custody suite staff were randomly allocated to one of three trial arms: screening only (control – group 1); 10 minutes of manualised brief advice delivered by the person who carried out screening (group 2); and 20-minutes of brief (behaviour change) counselling delivered by trained alcohol counsellors (group 3). Screening arrestees was done by custody staff and involved using a short questionnaire (AUDIT) about the arrestee’s drinking. Those who scored 8 or over on the Alcohol Audit were enrolled into the study.
Researchers successfully recruited to all trial arms and staff delivered screening and brief advice to 100% of cases: 79 (group 1); 65 (group 2) and 61 (group 3) but were able to re-contact just 26% one year later, mainly by telephone. However, the majority of arrestees (94%) gave researchers permission to ask the police for information about their arrests in the year leading up to and after the study. This let us find out who was arrested in the year before and after they took part in the study – and how many times arrests occurred.
Researchers concluded it would be appropriate for custody suite staff to provide alcohol brief advice for arrestees, however brief counselling should not be given. As the majority of arrestees could not be contacted in the year following their arrest but their arrest data was accessible, in future studies researchers should use police information (on arrests) and also NHS information (such as visiting A&E units) to see if the advice given had an impact on arrestees.
Birch J, Scott S, Newbury-Birch D, Brennan A, Brown H, Coulton S, Gilvarry E, Hickman M, McColl E, McGovern R, Muirhead C, Kaner E. A pilot feasibility trial of alcohol screening and brief intervention in the police custody setting (ACCEPT): study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2015; 1:6.
Addison M, Mcgovern R, Angus C, Becker F, Brennan A, Brown H, Coulton S, Crowe L, Gilvarry E, Hickman M, Howel D, McColl E, Muirhead C, Newbury-Birch D, Waqas M, Kaner E. Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in Police Custody Suites: Pilot Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial (AcCePT). Alcohol and Alcoholism (2018).