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Special branch men claim officers working for drug dealer

Former Policing Board member Dolores Kelly
Connla Young

There have been calls for an investigation after a PSNI ‘special branch’ officer made secretly recorded claims that members of the force may be ‘working’ for a man they claim is a major drugs dealer.

The allegation was made in a conversation between two undercover police officers and a suspected drug dealer they were trying to recruit as an informer.

The attempt to recruit the man - who we have called Suspect 1 - is believed to have been made at the end of March in the Portrush area.

Suspect 1 is believed by police to be involved in the drug trade in the north coast area.

The two officers, members of the PSNI’s C3 Intelligence Branch - formerly known as ‘special branch’ – were secretly recorded trying to convince Suspect 1 to provide information about another man - who we have called Target 1 - whom they claim is a major player in the drugs trade.

They pledge that if Suspect 1 provides valuable information about Target 1 he could be paid up to £15,000.

One of the officers can be heard telling Suspect 1 police are aware he is a drug dealer and that if he works for them he will be protected.

Read more: Special Branch informer tactics revealed

The identities of all the individuals named in the covert recording are known to the Irish News but have been changed.

During the conversation one of the officers - who we have called Policeman 1 - tells the drug dealer that he can't stop regular officers singling him out for attention in case it raises suspicions about his role.

He then makes the disturbing claim that police suspect Target 1 has close links to serving officers.

Another officer present in the car - known as Policeman 2 - also drops a bombshell allegation that some officers may actually be working for Target 1.

Policeman 1: “Let me tell you, you are really silly if you think (Target 1) doesn’t have f**kin’ connections to the police.”

“Right, and that’s part of the reason we need to take him out by the roots.

“Because there’s dirty f**kin’ peelers about.”

Suspect 1: “So, he’s working with other cops then?”

Policeman 1 said: “We don’t known for certain, but there’s always been a suspicion.”

Policeman 2: “It’s (inaudible) the other way round - they’re probably f**ckin’ working for him.

Policeman 1: “Yeah.”

Policeman 2: “Nothing, nothing, be clear, next to him, nothing will give us f**king greater pleasure than taking out some bastard that’s working…. (inaudible).

Policeman 1: “Dirty c**t, dirty c**t.”

Policeman 2: “And I mean that.”

Policeman 1: “There’s big money in that too by the way.”

Policeman 2: “And those are the b**tards that are probably annoying your head…(inaudible).”

Target 1's solicitor Ciarán Shiels last night said his client has never been charged with drug offences and he would raise the matter with the Police Ombudsman.

"We have acted for the named individual for many years and he has never even been arrested, much less charged for any drug offence," he said.

Former Policing Board member Dolores Kelly last night said the allegations need to be investigated.

“Why would we be any different than any other jurisdiction, that there would not be a dirty cop in the barrel,” she said.

“If some police officers have such a suspicion I would hope they share that information to whoever does this investigation.

Mrs Kelly said people will be concerned that some drug dealers are being offered protection by the police.

“I know the police and enforcement agencies have to work with these people,” she said.

“The people at the end of the scale, the drug user and the families, who are at their wits end, would be very angry to believe that any blind eye at any level within that chain of supply is given a by-ball by the PSNI.”

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