30 June 2005

Board agrees to close nine bases

BBC


The closure of some rural police stations has been agreed

The Policing Board has approved some of the chief constable's planned closures of rural police stations, but postponed a decision on others.

A list of 17 PSNI stations was sent to the board by Hugh Orde for debate on Thursday.

While the board agreed to close nine stations, a decision on others in Fermanagh was deferred so consultation can take place over coming months.

The PSNI said it remained committed to Orde's recommendations.

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Fred Cobain welcomed the decision to hold more consultation over the Fermanagh stations.

"This proposal ensures that police go back to the district policing partnerships and to elected representatives in the areas affected and engage in extensive consultations," Mr Cobain said.

"The community must be reassured about the direction of future policing strategy. I am pleased that this process will soon be underway."

Plan defended

Earlier, the proposal to close all 17 stations was defended by Security minister Shaun Woodward.

The plan had come under fire from a number of unionist politicians.

But Mr Woodward said no station was closed without extensive consultation. "We always do consultation on all of those that have been closed," he said.

"Of course, you are going to find people who will say: 'I don't care what's coming in its place, I don't care what services the police are putting in its place, I don't want that station at the end of my road to close'.

"He (Hugh Orde) is charged with the job of putting out there an efficient policing service and that's why some have to close and new ones have to open."

DUP assembly member Arlene Foster said the move would have a detrimental effect on policing in Fermanagh.

"I'm concerned about response times," she said.

"I'm concerned about the fact that Fermanagh is a very rural community and they need policemen on the ground at those stations and especially along the border," she said.


Shaun Woodward said resources had to be managed in the best way

Orde's recommendations were put forward after the chief constable reviewed more than 60 police stations in which there was consultation at local level.

Eight of the 17 stations have already been run down and almost half of the locations on the list are in Fermanagh and include Rosslea and Kinawley.

Some of the other stations are Castlerock, Ardglass, Moy and Dromore in County Tyrone.

The others are understood to be Moneymore, Castlewellan, Plumbridge, Ballygawley, Caledon, Ballnamallard, Derrygonelly, Irvinestown, Lisbellaw, Newtownbutler and Tempo.


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