The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has recorded a 60 per cent rise in paramilitary punishment shootings and beatings in the last four years, The Guardian reports.
There were 101 shootings and beatings by dissident republicans and loyalists last year, up from 64 in 2013, according to the latest PSNI statistics.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton told The Guardian: “You have a culture of lawlessness and fear in some of these communities where the victims know who is shooting them; the parent knows who is shooting their child. Sometimes parents are negotiating with these thugs to take the kid to certain places by arrangement.
“It is not unknown to my officers that in certain circumstances parents have dosed their kids up with powerful painkillers and alcohol to remove the impact of the ‘punishment’ shooting or beating.
“By colluding in this they are hoping to negotiate less severe beatings or shootings. There is something madly wrong with society whenever parents even countenance doing that with their own children.”
Liam Kennedy, a QUB history lecturer who authored a major study into alternative paramilitary policing, added: “The trend is still alarmingly upwards. The last month has been a particularly vicious month. The victims are mainly young men from working-class areas, and not even children are immune. Last year three children were singled out for mutilation through gunshot wounds to the legs. This is child abuse of a kind comparable to the actions of paedophiles.”