New coalition and tapping on technology among CNB's latest moves to fight drugs

Drugs seized by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers on Sept 15, 2016.
Drugs seized by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers on Sept 15, 2016. PHOTO: CNB

SINGAPORE - A new coalition to spread the anti-drug message, as well as the use of automated image processing in investigations, are among the Central Narcotics Bureau's (CNB) latest moves in its fight against drugs.

They are part of its transformation to be more "future-ready" in the face of rising public expectations and growing manpower constraints, it revealed at its workplan seminar on Tuesday (April 25).

At the event, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin launched the United Against Drugs Coalition - a network of advocate organisations which have pledged their commitment to the cause, and spread the anti-drug message.

These include brands that young people are familiar with, such as PastaMania, Gong Cha and Clarke Quay, he said.

Besides developing an active citizenry, CNB has to use social media "to counter the narrative that drugs are acceptable", he added. This includes keeping up with trends, to present information in a way that is digestible to the youth.

The Home Affairs Ministry had previously said that 151 Singaporeans and permanent residents studying in primary to tertiary public educational institutions were caught for drug offences last year, up from 83 in 2014. The number of professionals or managers caught rose from 49 in 2014 to 70 last year.

Mr Amrin added that in enforcement, CNB will also look to leveraging technology more.

"We need to automate even more functions to reduce the amount of manual tasks, so that our officers can better focus on their core work," he said.

CNB has also introduced an Automated Image Processing System, which can automatically back-up, label, print and bind photograph albums for operational use.

This will make it the first law enforcement agency to use technology to automate image processing for investigative and prosecutorial purposes, it said.