03 February 2006

Border station to be shut in Armagh

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge
03 February 2006

One of the last remaining border outposts of the PSNI is to close, the Policing Board has confirmed.

The members of the board yesterday endorsed the Chief Constable's proposal to close the police station at Middletown in Co Armagh.

The heavily fortified barracks is in a staunchly nationalist area and its high security requirements make it a suitable candidate for closure, police believe.

The station has operated for some time on restricted opening hours and police have said that its closure would free up more officers on the ground.

Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said: "Having considered detailed information on the PSNI's consultation with the local community on the proposed closure, the plans for alternative policing arrangements for the Middletown area, and the views of Armagh District Policing Partnership and their consultation with the public, the board has decided to endorse the proposal.

"However, the closure of any police station is a sensitive issue. In this instance the board is pleased that the alternative policing measures being put in place will be of benefit to policing in the area.

"Both the board and Armagh DPP will observe developments closely in order to ensure that alternative arrangements set out in the commitment document will ensure that the people of Middletown are not disadvantaged in any way by this closure and that policing with the community continues to be the focus of the police in the area."

He added: "The board therefore believes that the closure of Middletown station will allow for more effective and efficient use of police resources."

The closure of the Middletown base is part of the PSNI Estates Strategy which plans for the construction of new police stations as well as the maintenance, upgrading and security review of existing stations.

The strategy also identified 61 stations for review and possible closure.

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