The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has announced that drug-related data used to support the use of sniffer dogs at festivals has been incorrectly reported for seven years in NSW. The official reporting agency has said that the much of the data had been mistakenly “double counted”.

Given this data is used to support the allocation of police resources, it’s called into question the legitimacy of the war on drugs once again.

The overreporting was due to the “double counting of some drug possession incidents that came to police attention through a person search,” one NSW MP told ABC News. It turns out NSW Police recorded two incidents for drug-related arrests; one of the initial search and one for actually finding drugs.

BOCSAR, who collect and use data like this in order to identify crime trends, didn’t know this important little fact, so its official figures included both reports, which means a lot of cases have been double counted. According to a message on its website, the number of recorded drug possession incidents between 2010 and 2017 has been revised because of this.

“The real concern is this would have skewed the allocation of police resources into yet more resourcing on the failing war on drugs,” Greens MP, David Shoebridge, told the ABC. He says almost 13,000 of the recorded incidents did not actually happen in 2017.

On the other hand, NSW Attorney-GeneralMark Speakman, reckons you should all be stoked that drug-related offences are lower than they were initially reported. “The Government does not apologise for taking a tough stance on illegal drugs,” he told the ABC.

It’s a pretty huge mistake and one that probably resulted in the over-allocation of police resources where they simply were not needed. Now that the data has been corrected, it will be interesting to see whether this will change, particularly at events like music festivals.

Source: ABC News
Image: Getty Images