Over the past year there has been a 320 percent increase the number of people charged with drug driving offences in NSW, with young people and residents of low-income areas making up the bulk of the arrests, according to new data released by the state’s crime statistics agency.

As reported by Junkee, the data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows that 9,800 people faced drug driving charges in NSW last year, compared to just 2,300 the year before. The BOCSAR report also acknowledges that “it seems likely that the increase in charges is a reflection of increased law enforcement activity rather than an increase in actual drug driving.”

This means that the huge increase in arrests isn’t actually the result of more people taking drugs and driving, but instead it’s the result of a significantly ramped up police effort to drug test drivers. So who are the cops testing?

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“It beggars belief that people living on the Northern Rivers, around Richmond and Tweed, are being convicted of drug driving at 46 times the rate than residents on Sydney’s North Shore.

“Meanwhile residents in South West Sydney are being convicted of drug driving at 12 times the rate of residents in Sydney’s eastern Suburbs.

“These extraordinary discrepancies can’t be explained by differences in the level of drug driving.

“There is no question that the police are targeting drug driving tests against those parts of the state that are less wealthy. It’s more class warfare from the Coalition government.

“South-West Sydney and the regions are facing a surge in drug driving convictions while residents in areas of privilege are getting a free ride.

“This confirms why the Greens are so opposed to the flawed roadside drug testing regime. It targets the poor, doesn’t test for impairment and fails to pick up cocaine and benzos.

“Mobile drug testing isn’t about road safety, it’s just another part of the failing war on drugs being fought by police against people without money or influence,” Mr Shoebridge said.