Belfast Telegraph

Republicans ‘co-operating with PSNI in war on drugs’

By Brendan McDaid

A senior police officer has revealed that 50 people have been charged with drug dealing in the Foyle area over the past two years as police stepped up their war on pushers.

More than 150 homes across the city have been searched over the same period, while several million pounds of drugs have been taken off the streets.

Newly-installed PSNI area commander for Foyle Jon Burrows yesterday unveiled some of the drugs seized by officers during searches in the city.

He said that the majority of illicit substances found in the city related to cocaine, cannabis and herbal cannabis, with ecstasy use also showing a slight resurgence.

Chief Inspector Burrows stressed that while there appeared to be virtually no problem with heroin in the city, those drugs on display “can do real damage and harm”.

He said: “We are arresting drug dealers, charging drug dealers and taking drug dealers off the streets.

“The dividends are kids are safer. Our successes are largely down to the community assistance combined with the good policing work which leads to drug dealers being put behind bars.

“We have had a very good level of co-operation from republican areas. When it comes to drugs we are getting that co-operation, but there is more that can be done.

“People are increasingly trusting us to do it.”

Mr Burrows said that the success of police operations was proving to local people that vigilante groups like Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) were not the answer to dealing with the scourge of drugs.

He also agreed that the number of shootings carried out by such groups seemed to be diminishing over recent months.

Chief Inspector Burrows said: “What we are demonstrating is that there is an alternative to vigilantes without seeing the grotesque violence groups like RAAD perpetrate.

“They peddle a lie that only they can deal with drugs.”

He added that drugs searches and seizures were “fairly evenly spread” across Derry.

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