25 March 2005

Belfast Telegraph

Transfer of police from forkhill 'part of review'

By Jonathan McCambridge
25 March 2005

Policing services in south Armagh are to be transferred from Forkhill army base to Crossmaglen police station, it was today announced.

For years south Armagh has been the only part of Northern Ireland where all police movement is by Army helicopter, and officers need constant military back-up because of the threat from republicans.

Newry and Mourne Chief Superintendent Bobby Hunniford informed the local District Policing Partnership at a meeting last night of a complete review of policing in south Armagh as part of the normalisation of policing.

Officers will be switched from Forkhill army base to Crossmaglen from the beginning of May.

Police said the level of service in Forkhill would not be diminished, although officers will be redeployed to Crossmaglen, Bessbrook and Newtownhamilton.

Additional police officers are also set to be redeployed to south Armagh.

Chief Superintendent Bobby Hunniford said: "I believe these arrangements will provide a better policing service across the whole south Armagh sector. Local people will see a significant change in policing style.

"We look forward to additional officers, who will start working in the area in May, joining their colleagues in the sector.

"I call on members of the communities in Forkhill, Crossmaglen, Bessbrook and Newtownhamilton to support their local officers as they strive to provide policing services for them through working in partnership."

Information leaflets on the new arrangements have been prepared and will be distributed to residents in the Forkhill area.

Forkhill residents wishing to contact local police can do so by ringing Bessbrook on 30 838222, Newtownhamilton on 30 878222, Crossmaglen on 30 861777 or Ardmore on 30 265500.

The Sector Inspector for the south Armagh area is Inspector Ian McDonald, who can be contacted at Bessbrook Station.

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