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Kings Cross

Sample

Kings Cross police station is a new data collection site in New South Wales—it was introduced in the first quarter of 2009. Its data collection activities are rotated on a quarterly basis with the Parramatta collection site. Throughout 2009–10, 322 detainees were interviewed in Kings Cross. The majority (80%) were males and the average age was 32 years (see Table 69). Male and female detainees were, on average, the same age (32 years).

From 2009 to 2010, the average age of detainees increased by one year to 33 years of age. In 2010 the average age of both male and female detainees increased by one year compared with 2009 (32 years cf 33 years for males and 31 years cf 32 years for females).

Offending

Throughout 2009–10, Kings Cross detainees were arrested and detained for total of 525 charges. The average number of charges per detainee was two and the maximum was 10. Charges for a drug offence were those most frequently recorded and comprised 30 percent of all charges in the two year period, followed by property offences (17%), violent offences (13%), breaches of a justice order (11%), disorder offences (7%) drink driving offences (7%) and road and traffic offences (3%). A further 54 charges were recorded as ‘other offences’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 70).

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 2009–10 at Kings Cross, 30 percent of detainees were classified as a most serious drug offender, having at least one drug offence recorded on their charge sheet. Of the remaining 70 percent, 17 percent were violent offenders, 16 percent were property offenders, 11 percent were breach offenders, 11 percent were drink driving offenders, nine percent were disorder offenders and one percent were road and traffic offenders. A further five percent were recorded as ‘other offenders’ not otherwise falling into the categories listed above (see Table 70).

Throughout 2009 and 2010, there were a number of notable changes in the offender classifications. For example, in 2010 there was a nine percentage point increase in the proportion of violent offenders compared with 2009 (12% in 2009 cf 21% in 2010). Other changes included a six percentage point increase in the proportion of property offenders compared with 2009 (12% in 2009 cf 18% in 2010), an eight percentage point increase in the proportion of drink driving offenders (7% cf 15% in 2010), a five percentage point increase in the proportion of disorder offenders (6% cf 11%) and a 20 percentage point decrease in the proportion of drug offenders (41% cf 21%).

By gender, almost one in three male detainees were in custody in 2009–10 for a drug offence (29%), with drugs being the single most frequently recorded offence type, followed by violent offences (20%), property offences (14%) and breach offences (13%). Female detainees were less likely than males to be detained for a breach offence (7%) or a violent offence (8%) and more likely to be detained for a property (23%) or a drug offence (33%).

Prior criminal justice contact

In 2009–10, two out of every five Kings Cross detainees reported that the current episode of contact with the police was not an isolated incident: 37 percent had been charged on at least one separate occasion in the previous 12 months (see Table 71). In 2009, two in every five detainees (43%) reported a prior arrest in the previous 12 months compared with one-third (33%) of detainees in 2010. Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to have been previously charged (52% cf 33%).

Throughout 2009–10, fewer than one in five detainees in Kings Cross (15%) had spent time in prison in the previous 12 months and male and female detainees were equally likely to report a recent prison history (see Table 71). In 2009, 20 percent of detainees reported having been in prison in the previous 12 months compared with just 12 percent in 2010.

Education, housing and employment

For more than one-third (38%) of the Kings Cross sample in 2009–10, Year 10 was the highest level of education attained (see Table 72). Two in every five detainees had attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (42%)—results that were consistent between 2009 and 2010. The main differences between male and female detainees were that males were more likely to have completed Year 11 or 12 (21% cf 17%), while females were more likely to have attempted or completed a post-secondary TAFE or university qualification (45% cf 41%).

More than three-quarters of detainees (80%) in 2009–10 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 (44%) and those who lived in a residence owned or rented by someone else (37%). A small number of detainees (7%) reported having no fixed address or living in emergency accommodation (see Table 72). The housing situation throughout 2009–10 was consistent.

The housing situations of both male and female detainees were generally consistent across the larger categories except that, though the numbers were small, male detainees were more likely to report being in a shelter or emergency accommodation (3% cf 0% for females) and in a hospital and/or treatment program for drugs and/or alcohol (2% cf 0%) while being slightly less likely to be at no fixed address (4% cf 5% for females) or in a prison or halfway house (3% cf 5%).

One in three detainees (32%) across 2009–10 reported being in full-time employment at the time of their arrest, while 47 detainees (15%) were employed part-time. The remaining 171 detainees (53%) were not working at the time of their arrest and of these:

  • 66 (21%) were looking for work;
  • 43 (13%) were not looking for work;
  • 52 (16%) were not working either because they were on leave from work or due to illness, disability or the seasonal nature of their employment;
  • five (2%) were full-time homemakers; and
  • five (2%) were retired or studying (see Table 72).

Compared with 2009, the proportion of Kings Cross detainees engaged with the workforce increased: there was a 12 percentage point increase in the proportion working full-time or part-time in 2010 (40% cf 52% in 2010). There was also a 15 percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees that reported being unemployed and either looking or not looking for work in 2010 (43% in 2009 cf 28% in 2010).

By gender, male detainees were more likely than female detainees to be employed full-time or part-time (50% cf 36% for females). Females were more likely to be unemployed and not looking for work (25% cf 11% for males) or not working because of their role as a full-time homemaker (5% cf 1%). There were substantial changes in the employment status of both male and female detainees between 2009 and 2010; for example, there was a six percentage point increase in the number of female detainees working full-time or part-time (32% cf 38% in 2010) and a 13 percentage point increase in the number of male detainees working full-time or part-time (41% cf 54% in 2010).

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 218 detainees who provided a urine sample throughout 2009 and 2010, 71 percent tested positive to at least one drug type. Between 2009 and 2010, there was a 10 percentage point decrease in the proportion of detainees that tested positive to any drug (78% cf 68%). The drug most commonly detected throughout 2009–10 was opiates (41%), followed by benzodiazepines (35%), cannabis (35%), heroin (28%) and amphetamines (24%). Forty-five detainees tested positive to cocaine across 2009 and 2010 (21%). Of those who tested positive to amphetamines (24%), the majority were confirmed to have used methamphetamine (18%), while only 10 detainees had used MDMA (5%) and six detainees tested positive to another amphetamine type substance (4%). Of those who tested positive to an opiate-based substance (41%), 28 percent tested positive to heroin, 16 percent tested positive to methadone, 13 percent tested positive to buprenorphine and five percent tested positive to other opiate-based substances (see Table 73).Female detainees were more likely than male detainees to test positive to amphetamines (35% cf 22%), opiates (65% cf 34%), cannabis (43% cf 33%) and benzodiazepines (52% cf 31%).

As noted earlier, between 2009 and 2010, there was a 10 percentage point decrease in the rate of positive tests for any drug at Kings Cross (78% cf 68%), which was primarily driven by substantial falls in the use of cannabis, opiates and amphetamines in 2010. For example, there was an 18 percentage point decrease in the use of cannabis (47% in 2009 cf 29% in 2010), a 10 percentage point decrease in amphetamines use (31% in 2009 cf 21% in 2010) and a 17 percentage point decrease in the use of heroin (39% in 2009 cf 22% in 2010). The test positive rate for benzodiazepines (35% cf 36%) and buprenorphine (13% cf 14%) both stayed consistent throughout 2009–10, with only a one percentage point increase for both drugs.

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 in 2009 and 2010, 54 percent of detainees had been drinking in the previous 48 hours (see Table 74). Male detainees were substantially more likely to have been drinking in the previous 48 hours than female detainees (59% cf 33%). From 2009 to 2010, there was an increase of 15 percentage points in the proportion of detainees reporting alcohol use in the 48 hours before arrest (45% in 2009 cf 60% in 2010).

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 all, 69 percent of detainees in 2009–10 had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before their arrest. On the last occasion of drinking, 26 percent of these detainees had consumed beer only, 16 percent had consumed wine only and 28 percent had consumed spirits only. It was not uncommon for detainees to have mixed different types of alcohol: the remaining 30 percent reported having 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 12. Beer-only drinkers consumed an average of eight standard drinks, wine-only drinkers drank an average of 11 standard drinks and spirit-only drinkers consumed an average of 10 standard drinks on the last occasion. Those who mixed drinks tended to have the highest consumption rate, at 18 standard drinks. 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. One in four female detainees who had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days in 2009 and 2010 had consumed spirits only on the last occasion (26% cf 28% for males), whereas one in three males had consumed beer only (29% cf 9% for females). The quantity of alcohol consumed on the last occasion was, on average, higher among males than females across all alcohol types except those drinking spirits only (see Table 74).

Drug and alcohol treatment and mental health

In 2009–10, 46 detainees at Kings Cross reported that they were in drug or alcohol treatment at the time of their arrest. This figure represents approximately 22 percent of those who had used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months. Treatment options include support groups, counselling and pharmacotherapy. A further 53 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, almost one in five had been referred by the courts or police or as a result of a legal order (see Table 75). The remaining four-fifths were either self-referred or referred by a health practitioner. Overall, treatment access remained consistent throughout 2009–10.

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. Beginning in the third quarter of 2009, 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, two detainees (4%) reported at least one overnight stay in a psychiatric unit and 87 detainees (34%) reported having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue.

Though the numbers are small, female detainees were more likely to report an overnight stay in a psychiatric unit (17% cf 0%) and they were also more likely to report having been previously diagnosed with a mental health related issue (43% cf 32%). 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 varied 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 206 respondents who provided a urine sample in 2009–10 and were charged with an offence, 72 percent tested positive to at least one type of drug. The prevalence of recent drug use varied by most serious offence type, with property offenders (86%) most likely to test positive to at least one drug type and road and traffic offenders the least likely to test positive (0%). Test positive rates for other offenders were:

  • 63 percent for violent offenders;
  • 84 percent for drug offenders;
  • 78 percent for breach offenders; and
  • 63 percent for disorder offenders (see Table 77).

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 all cases throughout 2009–10, opiates were the most commonly used among detainees, generally followed by one of cannabis, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. Disorder, drug, violent, property and breach offenders all had higher rates of benzodiazepine use than amphetamines use. Drink driving offenders had equal levels of use of benzodiazepines and amphetamines, while road and traffic offenders did not test positive to either drug. It should also be noted that drink driving offenders had higher rates of cocaine use than either benzodiazepine or amphetamines use. Breach, property and drug offenders all had opiates as their most used drug.

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. More than half of all respondents (59%) 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 (97%), followed by drug offenders (62%), violent offenders (60%), property offenders (51%), disorder offenders (41%), breaches offenders (40%) and road and traffic offenders (25%). Alcohol was more likely than other substances to be identified as a contributing factor by violent, disorder, road and traffic, and drink driving offenders, whereas other substances, such as heroin and amphetamines, were more likely than alcohol to be implicated by property, breach and drug offenders (see Table 77).

Table 69: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by age and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Age
18–20 36 14 6 9 42 13
21–25 44 17 15 23 59 18
26–30 46 18 14 22 60 19
31–35 36 14 7 11 43 13
36+ 96 37 22 34 118 37
Total 258 64 322
Min/max age 18/68 18/65 18/68
Mean age (median) 32(31) 32(30) 32(31)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 70: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by offending and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
ChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offenceChargesDetainees most serious offence
n%n%n%n%n%n%
Charges recorded
Violent 61 15 47 20 8 6 5 8 69 13 52 17
Property 59 15 33 14 31 24 14 23 90 17 47 16
Drug 116 29 69 29 43 34 20 33 159 30 89 30
Drink driving 26 7 24 10 11 9 10 16 37 7 34 11
Traffic 15 4 3 1 3 2 1 2 18 3 4 1
Disorder 32 8 23 10 6 5 3 5 38 7 26 9
Breach 52 13 30 13 8 6 4 7 60 11 34 11
Other 36 9 11 5 18 14 4 7 54 10 15 5
Total 397 240 128 61 525 301

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 71: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by criminal history and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Prior charge history (past 12 months)
Yes 57 33 22 52 79 37
No 116 67 20 48 136 63
Prior prison history (past 12 months)
Yes 35 15 9 15 44 15
No 205 85 50 85 255 85

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

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 72: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by education, housing, employment and gender, 2009–10a
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Education
Year 10 or less 99 38 24 38 123 38
Year 11 or 12 54 21 11 17 65 20
TAFE/university not completed 36 14 10 16 46 14
Completed TAFE 34 13 12 19 46 14
Completed university 35 14 7 11 42 13
Total 258 64 322
Housing
Private house/apartment 110 43 30 47 140 44
Someone else’s place 93 36 24 38 117 37
Shelter or emergency 8 3 0 0 8 3
Incarceration facility/halfway house 8 3 3 5 11 3
Treatment facility 6 2 0 0 6 2
No fixed residence 10 4 3 5 13 4
Other 21 8 4 6 25 8
Total 256 64 320
Employment
Full-time 89 35 14 22 103 32
Part-time 38 15 9 14 47 15
Have job but out due to illness/leave/strike/disability/seasonal work 43 17 9 14 52 16
Looking for work 54 21 12 19 66 21
Not looking for work 27 11 16 25 43 13
Full-time homemakers 2 1 3 5 5 2
Retired or studying 4 2 1 2 5 2
Total 257 64 321

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 73: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Provided urine
Yes 172 67 46 72 218 68
No 86 33 18 28 104 32
Test results
Cannabis 56 33 20 43 76 35
Cocaine 31 18 14 30 45 21
Methamphetamine 25 15 14 30 39 18
MDMA 9 5 1 2 10 5
Other amphetamines 6 3 2 4 8 4
(Any amphetamines)a (37) (22) (16) (35) (53) (24)
Heroin 34 20 26 57 60 28
Methadone 19 11 16 35 35 16
Buprenorphine 17 10 12 26 29 13
Other opiates 10 6 1 2 11 5
(Any opiate)b (59) (34) (30) (65) (89) (41)
Benzodiazepines 53 31 24 52 77 35
Any drug 115 67 40 87 155 71
Any drug other than cannabis 101 59 35 76 136 62
Multiple drugs 72 42 29 63 101 46

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 74: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by self-reported alcohol use and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Alcohol use
Past 48 hoursa 151 59 21 33 172 54
Past 30 daysa, b 152 73 23 51 175 69
Alcohol type consumed on last drinking occasionb
Beer only 43 29 2 9 45 26
Wine only 20 13 7 30 27 16
Spirits only 42 28 6 26 48 28
Mixed drinksc 44 30 8 35 52 30
MaleFemaleTotal
nmean (median)nmean (median)nmean (median)
Quantities consumed on last drinking occasion (standard drinks)b
Beer only 43 8 (7) 1 6 (6) 44 8 (6)
Wine only 20 12 (8) 7 7 (5) 27 11 (7)
Spirits only 41 10 (8) 6 15 (7) 47 10 (8)
Mixed drinksc 44 20 (13) 8 12 (10) 52 18 (12)

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 75: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by drug and alcohol treatment and gender, 2009–10a, b
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Treatment
Never been in treatment 95 59 15 32 110 53
Been in, but not currently in treatment 39 24 14 30 53 25
Currently in treatment 28 17 18 38 46 22
Treatment referral of those currently in treatment
Drug court requirement 3 11 2 12 5 11
Court diversion scheme 2 7 1 6 3 7
Police diversion scheme 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other legal order 1 4 0 0 1 2
Otherc 21 78 14 82 35 80

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’

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Table 76: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by mental health and gender, 2009–10
MaleFemaleTotal
n%n%n%
Overnight stay in psychiatric/psychological services unit (past 12 months)a
Yes 0 0 2 17 2 4
No 33 100 10 83 43 96
Ever been diagnosed or received treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental health related issueb
Yes 67 32 20 43 87 34
No 140 68 27 57 167 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 77: Kings Cross DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results and drug–crime attributions by most serious offending, 2009–10a
ViolentPropertyDrugDrink drivingTrafficDisorderBreachOtherTotal
(n=43)%(n=36)%(n=57)%(n=20)%(n=1)%(n=16)%(n=23)%(n=10)%(n=206)%
Urinalysis results
Cannabis 14 33 15 42 24 42 1 5 0 0 8 50 7 30 5 50 74 36
Cocaine 3 7 11 31 21 37 2 10 0 0 1 6 3 13 2 20 43 21
Amphetaminesb 8 19 11 31 21 37 1 5 0 0 2 13 4 17 4 40 51 25
Opiatesc 10 23 26 72 28 49 0 0 0 0 1 6 14 61 5 50 84 41
Benzodiazepines 10 23 19 53 22 39 1 5 0 0 4 25 11 48 5 50 72 35
(Any drug) 27 63 31 86 48 84 5 25 0 0 10 63 18 78 9 90 148 72
(Any drug other than cannabis) 23 53 30 83 43 75 4 20 0 0 5 31 17 74 7 70 129 63
(Multiple drugs) 13 30 27 75 35 61 0 0 0 0 3 19 12 52 6 60 96 47
Self-reported drug–crime attributiond, e
Alcohol 21 49 7 17 14 24 30 97 1 25 8 36 4 16 2 18 87 37
Other drugs 7 16 16 39 29 50 2 6 0 0 1 5 7 28 5 45 67 29
Any attribution 26 60 21 51 36 62 30 97 1 25 9 41 10 40 6 55 139 59

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 excluded from analysis

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 18: Test positive trends, males by drug type, Kings Cross 2009–10 (%)a

 Test positive trends, males by drug type, Kings Cross 2009–10 (%)

a: Data was not collected at this site during quarter 2 and 4, 2009 and 2010

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]

Figure 19: Test positive trends, females by drug type, Kings Cross 2009–10 (%)a

 Test positive trends, females by drug type, Kings Cross 2009–10 (%)

a: Data was not collected at this site during quarter 2 and 4, 2009 and 2010

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2010 [computer file]