Drug dealers paid to answer questionnaire

May 16, 2009 at 3:50 PM
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LONDON, May 16 (UPI) -- Critics say paying drug dealers to answer a research questionnaire in a London borough crime study is wrong, but city officials point to its results.

Some, including police officers and their union, were outraged at revelations that the Lambeth Council paid $35 fees to drug dealers to answer questions, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

"If the council pays for information which leads to people being arrested and convicted, I would have no problem with that. If, on the other hand, they paid just to adopt their policies, they are condoning -- if not actually participating in -- criminal offenses," Peter Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told the newspaper.

But borough officials say the fees have worked in collecting valuable information on how the drug trade operates in the city.

"As a direct result of this research, we have been in a better position to tackle the drugs market and 15 percent fewer residents now perceive drug crime to be a problem," a Lambeth Council spokeswoman told the Telegraph.

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