Gender differences in risk and treatment uptake in drug using offenders assessed in custody suite settings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



The aim of the study was to assess gender differences in risk profile among drug users in police custody in Birmingham and to examine levels of drug treatment engagement by gender. This article presents findings from an assessment of 1082 Arrest Referral Risk Matrices used by Drug Arrest Referral Workers in police custody between 2005 and 2006. Risk is measured on three elements, 'drug spend', current offending and arrest history, and three warning categories (lack of drug treatment engagement, history of violence in the last 12 months and history of weapons in the last 12 months). This generates a composite score that categorises the offenders as high, medium or low risk. The results revealed higher overall risk and higher drug spend amongst female drug using offenders, yet lower levels of treatment engagement than in males. The study supports previous research suggesting high levels of acquisitive crime among female offenders, yet there is little indication that this group are being targeted satisfactorily through drug treatment services.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-485
Number of pages12
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • risk, gender differences, drug expenditure, arrest referral scheme, acquisitive crime