A miscalculation in drug abuse statistics resulted in the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) reporting a downward trend when numbers were, in fact, on the rise from 2008 to 2010.
The correct data, released on Thursday, shows that there were actually 2,537 drug abusers arrested in 2008 instead of 1,925. The number rose to 2,616 in 2009, instead of the reported 1,883. Last year, drug abusers arrested numbered 2,887 instead of 1,805.
The figures were released during a news briefing to the mainstream media.
CNB's director, Ng Boon Gay said while the error resulted in incomplete statistics reported, all individual cases of drug abuse were correctly dealt with and in accordance with the law, Channel NewsAsia reported. Ng stressed that there was no miscarriage of injustice stemming from the IT error in computing the figures.
He also said that the mistake did not affect CNB’s enforcement efforts because strategy and planning relies on projected figures and ground intelligence instead of historical figures, reported The Straits Times.
The error, discovered in March, occurred when the bureau switched to a new IT system and changed the way it tabulated statistics.
Ng said the CNB is sorry for the mistake and will take full responsibility for the error.
While the miscalculation showed numbers falling, CNB’s enforcement efforts were heightened in the past three years, said the bureau. It launched an average of 4,900 raids a year from 2008 to 2010, compared to 3,400 in 2007. It also spent more on anti-drug education.
CNB expects the number of abuser arrests to increase given the worsening regional drug situation, reported CNA.
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