The “scourge” of drugs in the Banbridge area and beyond will dominate the agenda at two public meetings in June.
News of the meetings comes with an open invitation to Dromore Bowling Pavilion on June 9 and Banbridge’s Old Town Hall on June 14.
While some have stressed the problem is no more acute locally than anywhere else, there remain signs of mounting public concern over the drugs trade in the area and a wider series of recent arrests and drugs seizures, though welcomed, has for others reinforced the perception of a growing menace.
Planned by police and the Armagh, Craigavon and Banbridge Policing and Community Safety Partnership, the meetings will involve Neighbourhood Watch representatives from Dromore, Donaghcloney ,Waringstown, Banbridge, Gilford, Loughbrickland and Rathfriland.
Donaghcloney councillor and PCSP member Mark Baxter said of the drugs issue: “It’s getting to be a real scourge on society locally and across the country. Members of the public are asking what we’re doing about it, so we’re trying to be proactive.”
However, the public itself, he said, had a major part to play.
“It’s about the public reporting suspicious activity,” he said. “People can be afraid to phone police, especially where drugs are concerned.
“It’s about creating confidence in the police and getting people to overcome their fear and phone police.”
The meetings take place from 7.30pm on June 9 in Dromore Bowling Pavilion and from 7pm on June 14, in Banbridge Old Town Hall’s First Floor Gallery.