New crackdown on drugs suppliers

A new drive is on to crack down on the sale and supply of drugs in Derry.

Independent charity Crimestoppers, supported by the PSNI, Derry’s District Policing Partnership and Derry City Council’s Community Safety Partnership, is this week launching a major leaflet and poster campaign in Foyle, funded through the proceeds of Criminal Confiscation Receipts.

The campaign will focus on encouraging members of the public to provide information to the charity about the sale and supply of drugs in the city.

According to police, the scourge of drugs “cuts to the very heart of communities in Foyle where, unfortunately, there are too many families who know the devastation that drugs can cause.”

Leaflets will be distributed to every household explaining how to contact the Crimestoppers charity. Posters will also be visible across various parts of the city.

Chairman of the Crimestoppers Volunteer Board in Northern Ireland, Paul Leighton, said Crimestoppers was completely independent from the police.

“Crimestoppers is an independent charity that can help the PSNI find criminals and solve crimes, but it is not part of the PSNI. Callers to Crimestoppers do not have to give their name or any other personal information and calls cannot be traced. They will not need to appear in court or give a statement to police,” said Mr Leighton.

“We believe that people in Foyle have the right to live in communities that are free of drugs and the criminals who supply them. We also believe that anyone with information about drug dealers should go to the police.

“However we know that those who want to take action and pass the information on may be close to the criminal and fear that some action will be taken against them. Crimestoppers offers a secure way to get that information to the police, making their families and their communities safer,” he said.

PSNI Inspector Jon Burrows said that, while many people feel comfortable talking to police directly, he understands that others may feel frightened or unsure.

“No one wants to see drugs in their neighbourhoods, therefore it is vitally important that we get the information we need to tackle these dealers,” he said. “The Crimestoppers charity provides an anonymous avenue for people who want to pass on information about crime. You do not have to give your name and your call will not be traced. Remember, the information you have could help put a dealer behind bars and remove drugs from our streets.”

Councillor Thomas Conway, Chair of Derry District Policing Partnership, added: “Tackling this issue of drugs remains a priority for us as a DPP and we are pleased to support any efforts made by police and the Crimestoppers charity to encourage more people to give information.”

Councillor Elisha McCallion, Chair of Derry City Council’s Community Safety Partnership, said: “Drugs ruin lives and communities. This campaign is about highlighting the fact that everyone can play their part in disrupting the supply of drugs by providing whatever information they have. The Crimestoppers charity gives the public the confidence to pass on that information anonymously if they wish.”

Since its launch in Northern Ireland in 1996, the Crimestoppers charity has received over 16,000 actionable calls with 167 people arrested and charged with drug offences.

Since September 1, 2010, 164 calls/messages have been actioned in Foyle resulting in 28 arrests for various offences relating to drugs, burglary and assaults.