Belfast Telegraph

Increase in drug seizures positive step forward, says SDLP's McCusker

Paul McCusker
Paul McCusker

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker described an increase in the number of drug seizures and arrests in Northern Ireland as a “positive step forward”.

Police made 7,941 drug seizures in the 12 months up to the start of October. That was an increase of 764 (10.6%) on the previous 12 months.

During the past year there was 3,618 arrests, an increase of almost 9% on the year before.

The figures were revealed as police launched their Seasons Greetings campaign to target street-level dealing.

Belfast Oldpark councillor McCusker said more communities would be protected against the devastation that drugs and addiction afflict on people and their families.

In the past week it was revealed there had been seven deaths across Northern Ireland in 10 days with the Public Health Agency issuing a warning.

Mr McCusker said: “In recent weeks, the headlines have been dominated by tragic stories of families being torn apart by deaths brought on by drug addiction.

“I welcome the action of the PSNI in seizing Class A and B drugs from criminals and paramilitaries, whose sole purpose is to further their own narrow interests whilst leaving communities in despair and hopelessness.

“While this is positive news, more must be done by the PSNI and to help those with addiction problems to properly ensure they are receiving the support they desperately need.

“I recently wrote to the chief medical officer calling for greater support and intervention. We can’t wait any longer for action,” he said.

Police said that while there had been an increase in drug arrests and seizures, the consequences of illegal drugs was still affecting communities.

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts added: “Tackling street level drug dealing is a priority for us and we are all too aware of the devastating effect that drugs have on individuals, their families and communities.

“In the run up to Christmas we want to send a clear message that there is no space for illegal drug activity in our communities.

“Information from the public is vital in helping us to target operations and identify those responsible for drugs activity on our streets. You know your own area and you know what happens within it.

“If you know of anyone who is dealing drugs in your local area then please contact us by phoning 101.

“You can also provide information to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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