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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Limerick to 'Dial to stop drug dealing'

An anonymous phone line that anyone can ring to pass on information in relation to drug crime is to be rolled out in Limerick.

In May 2006 Blanchardstown Local Drug Task Force launched a new confidential phone line to help gather information on drug dealing. The free to dial phone line is known as ‘Dial to stop drug dealing’ and has been successful in the Dublin 15 area of the capital.

The project ran for six months when the task force published a report on its success saying,

“Of the reports that were followed up by the Drugs Unit of Blanchardstown Garda Station, 17% were referred on to other Gardaí districts as they contained information outside of the Blanchardstown district. Of the remaining reports, 17% have resulted in arrests with court cases pending, 7% are awaiting further information, 2% are being monitored and 59% are currently part of ongoing Gardaí investigations.”
The group stressed that the services success was attributed to the fact that there was very good media take up on the project and good local support from key stakeholders and citizens. A similar effort would be essential if the service were to be successful in Limerick.

In the 2006 report Mr. Phillip Keegan, Chairperson of the Blanchardstown Local Drug Task Force said,

"The campaign in Blanchardstown had sufficient success to warrant being adapted and piloted countrywide. The national roll-out should be promoted locally through the Local and Regional Drug Task Forces structure. This is in line with Action 5 of the National Drug Strategy which encourages community involvement in supply-control activities with law enforcement agencies."
Key aspects of the Dial to stop drug dealing are that,

The number is free, the number is anonymous, it is a non-Garda number and Second-hand information is good (you don’t have to witness drug dealing). Another key aspect is that the group requesting the information is an alliance of local organisations who are working to stop drug dealing in the area. It is not a direct Garda number.

Most importantly the Dublin 15 scheme found that people prefer to call a non-Garda phone number as apposed to a Garda number due to a fear of reprisal, a reluctance to get involved and concerns about confidentiality.

The sevice will be rolled out nationwide.

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