Aim: To investigate characteristics and trends from 2003/04 to 2012/13 in female persons of interest (POIs) recorded by NSW Police.
Method: The number of female and male POIs were informed by data on POIs proceeded against by police from the NSW Police Force Computerised Operational Policing System. Characteristics of female POIs are described and trends over the 10 years to June 2013 were analysed using Kendall’s rank-order correlation test.
Results: Over the decade ending June 2013 both adult female and male POIs increased in number. However the number of adult female POIs increased at a greater rate than their male counterparts. Adult females were most likely to be apprehended by police for shoplifting and assault. Unlike adult female POIs, juvenile female POIs have not generally increased over the past decade. Instead they rose, stabilised, then fell, so that by 2012/13 the number of juvenile female POIs were only slightly higher than in 2003/04. Over the most recent three years there were no significant increases for juvenile females for any of the offences examined. The offences committed by juvenile females were very similar to those committed by adult females, with shoplifting having the largest proportion of juvenile female POIs associated, followed by assault, breach of bail conditions and then malicious damage.
Conclusion: Females are still in the minority among POIs but their numbers are growing.