Suspected drug dealer arrested in Belfast city centre as part of new police operation

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By Q Radio News

A 33-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply in Belfast City Centre. 

A quantity of drugs paraphernalia was also seized when the suspect was searched as part of a specialist operation called 'Project Servator'. 

People are being told not to panic if they see specially trained officers, including the likes of dog handlers, being deployed in the coming weeks. 

Earlier this year the Police Service of Northern Ireland commenced a trial of new safety and security deployments and policing tactics. 

The operation saw police deployments introduced by City of London Police in February 2014.

The PSNI says the policing tactic has been adopted by 23 police forces since then and has resulted in hundreds of pieces of intelligence being gathered and arrests for various offences, including firearms and weapons offences, drugs, money laundering, robbery and theft.

It has also been used at major events, including the Commonwealth Games, Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and locally at The Open Championship in Portrush.

Strategic lead for Project Servator Superintendent Pat Foy says the operation aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity while providing a reassuring presence for members of the public.

"My officers have been specially trained to spot tell-tale signs that someone is gathering information to help them plan or prepare to commit a crime and we will have deployments right across the Belfast Christmas Markets and the city centre.

“Project Servator patrols are highly visible and characterised by the use of a range of policing assets - dogs, vehicles, plain clothes officers – in an unpredictable way. If you see Project Servator officers across Belfast city centre, I can assure you there is nothing to worry about. They are normal police deployments there to keep you safe and are not in response to any specific threat.

“In the past week Tactical Support Group officers have made a number of arrests for possession of drugs, and seized a substantial quantity of Class A and Class C drugs and a number of offensive weapons.

“After Project Servator officers observed suspicious behaviour in Belfast city centre this evening they searched and arrested a 33 year old male on suspicion of possession of suspected class A drugs with intent to supply.   They also seized a small quantity of needles and drugs paraphernalia.”

Superintendent Foy continued; “We are working closely with our partners, including Belfast Harbour Police, security staff and CCTV operators, local businesses and retailers and members of the public, to continue to keep people safe in Northern Ireland, protect everyone who lives, works or visits here and make it a difficult place for criminals and terrorists to operate.

“I would stress that we cannot do this alone.  Members of the public have an important role to play in helping us keep people safe by reporting anything that doesn’t feel right.  We rely on you to be our eyes and ears so please report any suspicious activity to police.”

Members of the public can report suspicious activity on the PSNI non-emergency number 101. 

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