13 August 2009 Edition
Policing Board scraps 26 PSNI stations
THE decision announced last Thursday, 6 August, by the Policing Board to close and sell off 26 police stations across the North – in the face of unionist opposition – has been welcomed by Sinn Féin Policing Board member Alex Maskey MLA as “a victory for commonsense”.
The stations are: Greencastle, Mountpottinger, Greyabbey, Dromara, Toomebridge, Templepatrick, Loughgall, Markethill, Rathfriland, Bessbrook, Portadown, Belcoo, Belleek, Coagh, Fivemiletown, Kesh, Newtownbutler, Pomeroy, Stewartstown, Bellaghy, Claudy, Donemana, Newtownstewart, Portstewart, Kells and Kilrea.
The PSNI said that 20 of the proposed stations are no longer in use while five are open on a “limited and variable basis”. Only one of the stations, Bessbrook, is fully operational and open to the public.
Alex Maskey said:
“This is a victory for commonsense. Arguments being put forward that we should continue to see money from the policing budget wasted on unused police stations were, in the end, unsustainable.”
Alex said that what is needed now is to focus on how we deliver the policing service that people are entitled to and maximise the resources available to deliver good-quality policing.
“I made it clear to the PSNI today that Sinn Féin’s primary concern is for the PSNI to take account of the needs and concerns of local communities. This means the PSNI must deliver effective strategies for tackling anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, hate crime, burglary and car crime and ensuring that people feel safe in their communities.
“Sinn Féin will also continue to try and ensure that the disposal of these assets is in the interests of local communities, either by utilising the land for local benefit or for any money generated to be retained locally.”