Australian Institute of Criminology

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Bankstown

Sample

Throughout 2009–10, 608 detainees were interviewed at the Bankstown police station. The majority (81%) were males and the average age was 32 years. Male detainees were, on average, two years older than female detainees (33 years cf 31 years; see Table 24). Overall, the number of detainees surveyed in 2009 and 2010 was almost identical but for a modest decrease of 14 detainees in 2010. Overall, the number of detainees processed during DUMA interview hours in 2010 was notably lower when compared with previous years.

The average age of detainees increased from 31 years in 2009 to 33 years in 2010, driven largely by an older female detainee population. In 2010, for example, the average age of female detainees in Bankstown was four years higher than in the previous year (33 years cf 29 years). In 2010, the average age of male detainees increased by one year compared with results in 2009.

Offending

In 2009–10, Bankstown detainees were arrested and detained for a total of 1,208 charges. Consistent with previous years, the average number of charges per detainee was two and the maximum was 10. Charges for violent offences were those most frequently recorded, comprising 25 percent of all charges for the period, followed by charges for property offences (21%), road and traffic offences (11%), breaches of a justice order (10%), disorder offences (10%), drug offences (7%) and drink driving offences (3%). A further 153 charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 25).

The most serious offence classification—an approach that categorises each offender according to the most serious charge listed on their charge sheet—has been used consistently since 1999. In Bankstown, in the period of 2009–10, 34 percent of detainees were classified as most serious violent offenders, having at least one violent offence recorded on their charge sheet. Of the remaining 66 percent, 17 percent were property offenders, 12 percent were breach offenders, eight percent were road and traffic offenders, seven percent were disorder offenders, seven percent were drink driving offenders and five percent were drug offenders. A further 15 percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 25). The proportion of charged detainees classified as violent offenders increased substantially by 11 percentage points between 2009 and 2010 (29% cf 40%) and is notably different in 2010 when compared with previous years. In 2009 and 2010 there were declines in property and drug offending, continuing the gradual decline observed since data were first collected at Bankstown in 1999.

One in three male detainees in 2009–10 was in custody for a violent offence (34%), with violence being the single most frequently recorded offence type, followed by property (15%), breach (13%) and road and traffic offences (9%). However, female detainees were more likely than males to be detained for a property offence (27%) or a disorder offence (9%) and were equally like to have a violent charge (34%).

Prior criminal justice contact

In 2009–10, two in five Bankstown detainees reported that their current episode of contact with the police was not an isolated incident: 40 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the previous 12 months (see Table 26). In 2010, there was an increase of six percentage points in the proportion of detainees that reported a charge in the previous 12 months compared with 2009 (43%, up from 37%). Yet, overall, the proportion of detainees that reported a prior history of police contact was not notably different when compared with earlier years. In 2009 and 2010, male detainees and female detainees were almost equally likely to have been arrested and charged with at least one other offence in the previous 12 months (41% cf 38%).

One in every 10 detainees in Bankstown (10%) had spent time in prison in the previous 12 months, with male detainees being more likely than female detainees to report a recent prison history (11% cf 6%; see Table 26). In 2010, the proportion of detainees with a recent prison history increased by three percentage points compared with 2009, although overall this is not notably different when compared with earlier years.

Education, housing and employment

For almost half of the Bankstown sample (47%), Year 10 was the highest level of education attained (see Table 27). More than one in three had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification—results that indicate a decline in overall scholastic achievement when compared with education levels in 2007 and 2008. The levels of education of male detainees and female detainees were generally consistent. For female detainees, the most significant change from 2009 to 2010 was an 11 percentage point increase in the proportion having completed TAFE. For male detainees, the level of education self-reported between 2009 and 2010 remained unchanged.

Nearly all detainees (97%) reported most recently residing in a private residence (in the 30 days before their arrest). This figure was divided almost equally between those who lived in a privately owned or rented residence (48%) and those who lived in a residence owned or rented by someone else (49%). A small number of detainees (2%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 27). Overall, the housing situation in 2009 and 2010 was consistent when compared with previous years.

More than one in three detainees (39%) reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while 75 detainees (12%) were employed part-time. The remaining 294 detainees (49%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 130 (21%) were looking for work;
  • 39 (6%) were not looking for work;
  • 71 (12%) were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment;
  • 29 (5%) were full-time homemakers; and
  • 25 (4%) were retired or studying.

The most notable changes from 2009 to 2010 were a seven percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees working full-time (43% cf 36%) and a five percentage point increase in the proportion working part-time (10% cf 15%). However, these fluctuations are consistent with data from previous years, suggesting no notable change in the employment status of detainees at Bankstown in the longer term.

By gender, male detainees were more likely to be employed full-time or part-time (56%) compared with female detainees (33%), who were more likely not to be working due to disability (12% cf 8% for males) or because of their role as a full-time homemaker (16% cf 2% for males; see Table 27). Between 2009 and 2010, there were only modest changes in the employment status of female detainees. For females, the proportion that reported working part-time (19%) increased by 12 percentage points in 2010, while the proportion of female detainees that reported being unemployed and not looking for work (10%) increased by six percentage points. For male detainees, the proportion working full-time (40%) decreased by seven percentage points in 2010 and there was also an increase of four percentage points in the proportion of male detainees that reported being disabled and unable to work in 2010 (10%).

Drug use

Urinalysis screening was conducted for five drug classes—amphetamines, benzodiazepine, cannabis, cocaine and opiates—and secondary screening tests were conducted for the opiate pharmacotherapy substances methadone and buprenorphine. In addition, confirmatory analysis was conducted for samples positive to amphetamines and opiates (not including pharmacotherapies). Opiates were then classified as either heroin or other opiates (including prescription opiates). Amphetamines were classified as methamphetamine, MDMA, or other amphetamines (including prescription amphetamines).

Of the 410 detainees who provided a urine sample throughout 2009 and 2010, 58 percent tested positive to at least one drug type. In 2010 there was a modest four percentage point decrease in the proportion testing positive to any drug; however, overall, this level of drug use is not notably different when compared with previous years. The drug most commonly detected over the two-year period was cannabis (39%), followed by opiates (21%), benzodiazepines (19%) and amphetamines (10%). Only 14 detainees tested positive to cocaine in 2009 and 2010 (3%). Of those who tested positive to amphetamines, the majority were confirmed to have used methamphetamine (9%), while only four detainees had used MDMA (1%) and five detainees tested positive to another amphetamine type substance (1%). Of those who tested positive to an opiate-based substance, 12 percent tested positive to heroin, 11 percent tested positive to methadone, seven percent tested positive to buprenorphine and two percent tested positive to other opiate-based substances (see Table 28).

In 2009–10, female detainees were more likely than males to test positive to amphetamines (16% cf 9%), opiates (30% cf 19%) and benzodiazepines (28% cf 17%). Male detainees, on the other hand, were more likely to test positive to cannabis (41% cf 30%). As noted, positive urinalysis results in 2010 were slightly lower than in the 2009, with fewer detainees testing positive to at least one drug (56% cf 60% in 2009). This decline was predominately driven by a decrease in the detection of opiates and benzodiazepines of four percentage points each. Benzodiazepine detection, for example, declined to 17 percent and opiate detection declined to 19 percent. Test positive results for most other categories of drug were generally unchanged, with a two percentage point increase in amphetamine use (up to 11%), a one percentage point decrease in cannabis (down to 39%) and buprenorphine (down to 7%) and no notable change in heroin use (12% each year).

Self-reported alcohol use

Alcohol use among detainees cannot be reliably tested using urinalysis. Instead, the DUMA survey relies on a range of questions regarding recent and lifetime alcohol use, including whether the detainee had consumed alcohol in the 48 hours before their arrest. Overall, throughout 2009 and 2010, 30 percent of detainees had been drinking in the previous 48 hours (see Table 29). Female detainees were almost as likely as male detainees to have been drinking (28% cf 30%) and, overall, rates of recent alcohol use stayed consistent when compared with previous years.

Alcohol consumption patterns

In the third quarter of 2009, changes were made to the DUMA survey in an effort to capture a wider range of information about detainees’ alcohol consumption. In particular, an alcohol consumption grid was developed to identify both the type and quantity of alcohol consumed during the last episode of drinking. Units of consumption can therefore be disaggregated both by size and strength so that standard drink estimates can be developed.

In 2009–10, 57 percent of detainees had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before their arrest. On the last occasion of drinking, 38 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, 11 percent had consumed wine only and 29 percent had consumed spirits only. It was not uncommon for detainees to have mixed different types of alcohol: the remaining 22 percent had consumed at least two types of alcohol on the last occasion.

In terms of quantity, the average number of standard drinks consumed on the last occasion was 11. Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of nine standard drinks, wine-only drinkers drank an average of 11 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed an average of nine standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 19 standard drinks on average. Though these figures are high, it is important to note that the length of time spent drinking on the last occasion would have varied from person to person.

Female detainees were more likely than males to have most recently consumed spirits or wine, while males were more likely than females to drink beer. Two out of every five female detainees who had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days had consumed spirits only on the last occasion (41% cf 27% for males), whereas more than one-third of all male detainees had consumed beer only (41% cf 15% for female detainees). The quantity of alcohol consumed on the last occasion was, on average, higher among males than females across all alcohol types (see Table 29).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2009–10, 37 detainees at Bankstown reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 14 percent of those who had used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months. Treatment options included support groups, counselling and pharmacotherapy. A further 63 detainees had been previously in a treatment program but were no longer in treatment at the time of their arrest. Of those currently in treatment, more than one in 10 had been referred by the courts or police or as a result of a legal order. The remaining 89 percent were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner (see Table 30). Overall, treatment access was consistent across 2009–10 and was not notably different when compared to previous years.

Questions relevant to the mental health of detainees were revised in the third quarter of 2009. In the first two quarters, detainees were asked whether they had stayed overnight in a psychiatric or psychological services unit on at least one occasion in the previous 12 months. From the third quarter of 2009 onward, detainees were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issue (that is, not just in the previous 12 months). Overall, seven detainees (5%) reported at least one overnight stay in a psychiatric unit and 149 detainees (34%) reported having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (see Table 31).

Although the numbers are small, female detainees were slightly more likely than male detainees to report an overnight stay in a psychiatric unit (10% cf 4%) and were also more likely to report having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (54% cf 30%). Given that the new questions regarding mental health diagnosis were first implemented in the third quarter of 2009, reliable trend data is not yet available.

Linking drugs and crime

The link between drugs and crime is measured in the DUMA study using a range of indicators, including the extent to which drug use varies between offenders of different offence types and the extent to which an offender reports that drugs or alcohol were a factor that contributed to their most recent offending.

Of the 387 respondents who provided a urine sample in 2009–10 and were charged with an offence, 59 percent tested positive to at least one drug type (see Table 32). The prevalence of recent drug use varied by most serious offence type, with drug offenders (87%) most likely to test positive to at least one drug type and drink driving offenders the least likely to test positive (31%). Test positive rates for other offenders were:

  • 57 percent for violent offenders;
  • 72 percent for property offenders;
  • 63 percent for breach offenders; and
  • 57 percent for disorder offenders.

Test positive rates varied by offence type across 2009 and 2010. For example, there was a 12 percentage point increase in the number of drug offenders testing positive to any drug (92% cf 80% in 2009), an 11 percentage point decrease in the use of any drug among breach offenders (59% cf 70% in 2009), a 21 percentage point decrease in drug use among drink driving offenders (21% cf 42% in 2009) and a 48 percentage point decrease in drug use among disorder offenders (25% cf 73% in 2009). Overall, the rate at which violent offenders tested positive to any drug remained consistent when compared with previous years, while for property offenders the test positive rate has increased. The rate at which other offenders test positive to any drug has fluctuated over previous years due to small sample sizes.

Although the prevalence of drug use varied somewhat between offenders depending on their offence, the pattern of use by drug type was relatively consistent. In almost all cases throughout 2009 and 2010, the drug most commonly used among detainees was cannabis, generally followed by either opiates or benzodiazepines and then amphetamines. Property offenders, drug offenders, road and traffic offenders and breach offenders all had higher rates of opiate use than benzodiazepine use. The opposite was true for violent, drink driving and breach offenders. Disorder offenders had equal levels of opiate and benzodiazepine use.

In mid-2009, a set of new questions was developed in an effort to identify the relationship between substance use (drugs and/or alcohol) and the offences for which detainees were currently in custody. In 2009 and 2010, nearly one-third of all respondents (31%) confirmed that their substance use contributed to their current offences. By most serious offence, those detained on a drink driving offence had the highest level of combined drug/alcohol attribution (92%), followed by drug offenders (64%), property offenders (37%), disorder offenders (30%), violent offenders (23%), breach offenders (21%) and road and traffic offenders (14%). Alcohol was more likely than other substances to be identified as a contributing factor by drink driving offenders, road and traffic offenders, disorder offenders and breach offenders, whereas other substances such as heroin and amphetamines were more likely than alcohol to be implicated by property offenders, violent offenders and drug offenders (see Table 32).

Table 24: Bankstown DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Age
18–20 73 15 14 12 87 14
21–25 90 18 23 20 113 19
26–30 84 17 28 25 112 18
31–35 68 14 16 14 84 14
36+ 180 36 32 28 212 35
Total 495 113 608
Min/max age 18/69 18/61 18/69
Mean age (median) 33(31) 31(29) 32(30)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 25: Bankstown DUMA sample, by offending history and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
ChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offence
n%n%n%n%n%n%
Charges recorded
Violent 252 25 160 34 51 24 35 34 303 25 195 34
Property 175 18 71 15 84 39 28 27 259 21 99 17
Drug 70 7 27 6 12 6 4 4 82 7 31 5
Drink driving 35 4 33 7 6 3 6 6 41 3 39 7
Traffic 121 12 40 9 12 6 4 4 133 11 44 8
Disorder 101 10 28 6 15 7 9 9 116 10 37 7
Breach 109 11 61 13 12 6 6 6 121 10 67 12
Other 129 13 44 9 24 11 11 11 153 13 55 10
Total 992 464 216 103 1,208 567

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 26: Bankstown DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 172 41 37 38 209 40
No 252 59 61 62 313 60
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 49 11 6 6 55 10
No 409 89 100 94 509 90

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 27: Bankstown DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Education
Year 10 or less 228 46 57 50 285 47
Year 11 or 12 82 17 17 15 99 16
TAFE/university not completed 80 16 12 11 92 15
Completed TAFE 80 16 18 16 98 16
Completed university 24 5 9 8 33 5
Total 494 113 607
Housing
Private house/apartment 232 47 57 50 289 48
Someone else’s place 243 49 53 47 296 49
Shelter or emergency 1 0 0 0 1 0
Incarceration facility/halfway house 3 1 0 0 3 0
Treatment facility 1 0 0 0 1 0
No fixed residence 8 2 2 2 10 2
Other 7 1 1 1 8 1
Total 495 113 608
Employment
Full-time 217 44 22 19 239 39
Part-time 60 12 15 13 75 12
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 54 11 17 15 71 12
Looking for work 105 21 25 22 130 21
Not looking for work 31 6 8 7 39 6
Full-time homemakers 10 2 19 17 29 5
Retired or studying 18 4 7 6 25 4
Total 495 113 608

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 28: Bankstown DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Provided urine
Yes 341 69 69 61 410 67
No 154 31 44 39 198 33
Test results
Cannabis 139 41 21 30 160 39
Cocaine 11 3 3 4 14 3
Methamphetamine 27 8 9 13 36 9
MDMA 4 1 0 0 4 1
Other amphetamines 3 1 2 3 5 1
(Any amphetamines)a (31) (9) (11) (16) (42) (10)
Heroin 40 12 10 14 50 12
Methadone 29 9 15 22 44 11
Buprenorphine 24 7 6 9 30 7
Other opiates 9 3 1 1 10 2
(Any opiate)b (65) (19) (21) (30) (86) (21)
Benzodiazepines 59 17 19 28 78 19
Any drug 200 59 38 55 238 58
Any drug other than cannabis 109 32 33 48 142 35
Multiple drugs 68 20 27 39 95 23

a: Detainees may test positive to more than one class of amphetamine

b: Detainees may test positive to more than one class of opiate

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 29: Bankstown DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 150 30 31 28 181 30
Past 30 daysa, b 213 59 34 45 247 57
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasionb
Beer only 87 41 5 15 92 38
Wine only 19 9 9 26 28 11
Spirits only 57 27 14 41 71 29
Mixed drinksc 47 22 6 18 53 22
MaleFemaleTotal
nmean (median)nmean (median)nmean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)b
Beer only 86 9(6) 5 7(2) 91 9(5)
Wine only 19 12(4) 9 10(5) 28 11(5)
Spirits only 55 9(6) 14 5(5) 69 9(6)
Mixed drinksc 47 21(12) 6 9(9) 53 19(11)

a: Only if consumed alcohol in the past 30 days

b: Data are quarter 3 2009 onwards only

c: ‘Mixed drinks’ refers to consuming more than one type of alcohol

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 30: Bankstown DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2009–10a, b
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Treatment
Never been in treatment 137 63 24 53 161 62
Been in, but not currently in treatment 53 25 10 22 63 24
Currently in treatment 26 12 11 24 37 14
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 1 4 0 0 1 3
Court diversion scheme 1 4 0 0 1 3
Police diversion scheme 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other legal order 2 8 0 0 2 5
Otherc 22 85 11 100 33 89

a: Treatment options include detoxification, rehabilitation program/therapeutic community, outpatient/counselling services, support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous etc), methadone maintenance, naltrexone, buprenorphine and general practitioners

b: Only of those who had used drugs or alcohol in the past 12 months

c: ‘Other’ refers to ‘referral from general practitioner or health professional’ and ‘self-referral’

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 31: Bankstown DUMA sample, by mental health status and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Overnight stay in psychiatric/psychological services unit (past 12 months)a
Yes 4 4 3 10 7 5
No 102 96 26 90 128 95
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issueb
Yes 107 30 42 55 149 34
No 248 70 35 45 283 66

a: Data are for quarter 1 and quarter 2 2009 only

b: Data are for quarter 3 2009 onwards only

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 32: Bankstown DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2009–10a
ViolentPropertyDrugDrink drivingTrafficDisorderBreachOtherTotal
(n=130)%(n=68)%(n=23)%(n=26)%(n=31)%(n=23)%(n=52)%(n=34)%(n=387)%
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 51 39 32 47 12 52 6 23 13 42 11 48 20 38 9 26 154 40
Cocaine 3 2 6 9 2 9 0 0 0 0 1 4 1 2 1 3 14 4
Amphetaminesb 11 8 9 13 4 17 2 8 2 6 3 13 7 13 2 6 40 10
Opiatesc 24 18 30 44 8 35 0 0 3 10 4 17 9 17 6 18 84 22
Benzodiazepines 26 20 20 29 6 26 2 8 2 6 4 17 10 19 5 15 75 19
Any drug 74 57 49 72 20 87 8 31 17 55 13 57 33 63 13 38 227 59
Any drug other than cannabis 44 34 37 54 12 52 4 15 5 16 8 35 19 37 8 24 137 35
Multiple drugs 28 22 28 41 10 43 2 8 2 6 6 26 11 21 6 18 93 24
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond, e
Alcohol 18 12 5 7 2 9 24 92 3 9 5 22 8 15 2 9 67 17
Other drugs 19 13 25 34 13 59 0 0 2 6 3 13 5 10 1 4 68 17
Any attribution 35 23 27 37 14 64 24 92 5 14 7 30 11 21 3 13 126 31

a: Sample sizes may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

c: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

d: Data are from quarter 3 2009 onwards only

e: Missing data are excluded from analysis

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 8: Test positive trends, males by drug type, Bankstown 1999–2010 (%)

 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Bankstown 1999–2010 (%)

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 9: Test positive trends, females by drug type, Bankstown 1999–2010 (%)

 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Bankstown 1999–2010 (%)

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]