Monday 29 February 2016
Alongside the Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and the PSNI, we are renewing a joint campaign to tackle drugs and drug dealing across the city.
The ‘Drug Dealers Don’t Care, Do You?’ campaign was first launched in 2013 and according to statistics available today, the number of calls made to us (Crimestoppers) about drug-related activities in communities increased by a fifth (20.83%) between January 2013 and April 2015.
Also, from February 2013 to February 2015, the overall increase in the number of calls made to us re drugs cultivation, drugs possession and drugs trafficking increased by 78%.
Susan Brew, Region Manager for Northern Ireland with Crimestoppers, said: “Crimestoppers would like to reassure anyone with information about drug dealers that no-one will ever know they made the call - they remain completely anonymous. Crimestoppers is a charity and completely independent from the police.”
Belfast PCSP chairman Councillor Matt Garrett said the statistics spoke for themselves:
“The ultimate aim of this campaign is to get drugs off our streets and to give people the confidence to report drug dealing in their community, and the statistics would suggest that is exactly what’s been happening, which is very encouraging,” said Councillor Garrett.
“Local knowledge is crucial in our fight to tackle the scourge of drugs in communities. Today we are once again renewing the campaign and I hope it will be supported by communities across Belfast, and that we see many more successful prosecutions.”
Other PCSPs throughout Northern Ireland will also be rolling out the campaign, which has been part-funded by the Department of Justice.
Justice Minister David Ford said: “The devastating impact that illicit drugs can have on individuals, families and communities is all too evident. Drug dealers are not welcome in our society and I would like to take this opportunity to express my ongoing support for all those involved in removing these harmful substances from our streets and bringing these individuals before the courts.
“This collaborative campaign has a history of achieving significant results and today’s event reiterates how the current approach is made more effective with the support and information from local communities.
“The criminal justice system continues to take action against those who supply or deal drugs and I would encourage members of the public to call the police or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with the confidence that their call can make a difference.”
Speaking at the launch last week, PSNI Detective Superintendent Andrea McMullan from Reactive and Organised Crime Branch said: “Today’s campaign launch coincides with the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s ‘Operation Torus’ which targets street level drug dealers.
“Operation Torus has been running since February 1st. During this time we have arrested 96 suspects, made 122 drug seizures, charged 18 people and reported 23 people to the Public Prosecution Service. There are a further three weeks of the Operation remaining.
“We will continue to disrupt and arrest those involved in the sale and supply of drugs, bring individuals before the courts and work with communities and partner agencies to reduce the threat of harmful and illegal activity. We would continue to ask communities to provide us with information about illegal drugs. If you tell us, we will act on it.”
Policing Board Vice-Chair Debbie Watters said: “There is no doubt that drugs cause damage on our streets and throughout our society. PCSPs work hard across our community to tackle issues such as drug abuse by educating young people and highlighting the negative effects of drugs on society as a whole.
“The police have a key role in taking drugs off our streets and recent activity shows they will take action against those selling drugs. However, the police cannot do this alone; many drug dealers are stopped because people have reported their suspicions. By acting, people can help take drugs off the streets and prevent potential deaths. It’s as simple as that.”
To find out more about the campaign and view the ad visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/pcsp.