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PSNI insists it does not turn a blind eye to drug dealers

Police in Northern Ireland have hit back at claims by Health Minister Edwin Poots.

Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have vigorously denied accusations that it turns a ‘blind eye’ to drug dealers.

This afternoon, Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said, “The PSNI works hard to tackle the issue of drugs and any suggestion we protect those dealing in drugs is unfounded.”

The statement was issued in response to comments by Health Minister Edwin Poots who said he would not be surprised if the police were turning a blind eye to the activities of some drug dealers in return for information from them.

He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show that he had heard the allegations on a number of occasions and that police needed to dispel them.

Authorities have come under pressure in recent days over the deaths of seven young people across the greater Belfast area and one woman in the Northwest. Although their sudden and unexplained deaths have not been solidly linked to illegal substances, there have been associations made between them and a batch of dangerous ecstasy-like pills.

“We understand the misery drugs can cause to communities, to families, to those who get involved in drugs and we 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,” continued Harris.

He outlined the force’s recent fight against drugs, citing 2,800 arrests and 4,400 seizures.

“Drugs remain a policing priority but we also need the help of the public – we need people to come forward and tell us if they know anything about illegal drugs being sold or distributed in their local area,” concluded the assistant chief constable.

The PSNI have issued a warning about possibly-contaminated pills, which have been described as green-coloured tablets with a logo of a crown or castle on them. It is understood the victims believed the drug to be ecstasy.

Read: Warning issued over ‘Russian Roulette’ tablets in Belfast

More: Quarter-million worth of cocaine seized in Leinster Road flat

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