The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, BOCSAR admitted yesterday that they got it very wrong. So much so that last year 13,350 recorded drug uses/possessions never actually happened. So much so that the ‘drug crisis’ we continually hear about from the politicians, is based off completely cooked data. Data that policy decisions such as sniffer-dogs (that cost a staggering amount) and other festival crack-downs are often built around.
Basically here’s what’s happened:
– Since 2010, positive drug detection’s by the police were assumed by BOCSAR to have not been recorded into their database.
– BOCSAR added these offences to the database, not knowing the police had done the same.
– This effectively double-counted the drug offence data in some incidences.
BOCSAR’s chairman came clean yesterday admitting that this big boo-boo had been going on since 2010, inflating drug stats to much worst than they actually were.
“When we saw they [NSW Police] were doing searches and they were proving positive [drug detection] we just assumed they hadn’t recorded that positive result, so we added it in ourselves. That was a mistake because they were adding it in,” Dr Weatherburn said.
Weatherburn defends the error by saying that regardless of the double count the stats still show drugs trends increasing, but either way the whole thing is pretty suss and many aren’t happy, such as Western Sydney University Associate Professor of Criminology Dr Michael Salter.
“What role have these inflated statistics had on informing drug policing and law enforcement?” Dr Salter said. “[This] dramatic overestimation of drug detection may have led to a perception of a drug crisis.
“We have seen quite aggressive use of drug detection dogs, and policing at music festivals but to what extent have those tactics been launched to false data?”
While the BOCSAR twitter has been quiet as of late, the error was made known via a little erratum post at the bottom of the BOCSAR website. Something very understated considering on average 10,000 supposed recorded possessions over 7 years is a whopping 70,000 incorrectly added numbers.
What does this say about the reliability of the government-funded BOCSAR?
Let us know what you think of the whole cock-up.