04 Oct 2022

County Derry councillor slams police 'inaction' on drugs and anti-social behaviour

The PUP representative said a report presented to Council shows a 'false picture'.

County Derry councillor slams police 'inaction' on drugs and anti-social behaviour

Cllr Russell Watton says police have 'no intention' of meeting him to discuss information he has on drugs in the area.

A County Derry councillor has hit out at an annual policing partnership report, saying it paints a 'false picture' of what is happening within his area.

Cllr Russell Watton also claimed local police had to be compelled by headquarters to meet with him previously and said they had 'no intention' of doing so again.

The comments came as the Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP)'s annual report was presented to the Council's Leisure and Development Committee on Tuesday night.

Referring to a reported reduction in anti-social behaviour and drugs offences, the PUP representative hit out at what he said was the 'rosy picture' presented by the figures.

“The town's getting more rife with drugs every day,” Cllr Watton told the Committee.

“The area is, the Borough is. I have people in with me all the time making constant complaints about lack of action by police in reference to drugs and anti-social behaviour.

“Sometimes they're not even getting through to police. If they register a complaint, they don't hear for weeks afterwards, if they ever hear.

“These reports come out all the time and paint this rosy picture; it's a false picture as far as I'm concerned.

“People coming to me are not happy with the policing in this area; they are not one bit happy. I hear it all the time – every day of the week – and the main bug bears are anti-social behaviour and drugs.”

Cllr Watton also claimed police were not interested in hearing about information he had about drugs in the area.

“I've asked and asked and asked but they don't meet me; they haven't met me for nine months and have no intention of meeting me,” said the Coleraine councillor.

“They know I'm sitting on information about drugs; they know I hear it all the time. I've heard it today, I've heard it all week, but they just don't want to know.

“This rosy picture does not equate to what's happening on the ground. It's an absolute disgrace and I'll not be holding my breath waiting on them getting in touch with me.

“The last time they met me they had to be ordered from Belfast – from the Assistant Chief Constable – to meet me.

“That's an indictment of policing at the minute that they had to be ordered at that level to meet a public representative.

“I'm absolutely disgusted at this, as if it's enough to keep us going for another year. It's not enough for me,” he added.

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