Clarification sought on new PSNI team for Larne

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A Larne councillor has called for clarification on the newly announced policing structures.

DUP representative Gregg McKeen, who is also a member of Larne Policing and Community Safety Partnership, urged the PSNI to provide more details on its planned reforms of district policing.

The shake-up, brought about by budget pressures and the need for district boundaries to align with the new super councils, will see current PSNI response teams across the province replaced by 25 Local Policing Teams (LPTs).

These new teams will be supported by 34 Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) to work with disadvantaged communities, as well as in more isolated areas.

The new Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area will receive two LPTs based in Larne and Ballymena. These officers will provide a 24 hour service to the public.

Two NPTs will also be based in the borough at Carrick and Ballymena.

Cllr McKeen told the Times: “The details about these new teams are scare at present, so we have no idea how many officers will be involved or what exactly their roles will entail.

“However, I am led to believe the move will bring more officers to the Larne area, which I would obviously welcome.

“It would be great to have a team of local response officers based in Larne, after the emergency response team was relocated to Ballymena back in 2013.

“Hopefully more details will emerge soon so that we can make a more qualified assessment of these latest plans.”

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, who is responsible for district policing, added: “There is still much work to be done around the detail of team sizes, shift patterns and job descriptions, to name but a few challenges and these decisions will be made over time.”

He added that it would take up to six months for the new policing model to be fully functional.

“The LPTs are an exciting development - they will not just attend calls but will develop a greater sense of ownership of the area and the problems within it,” ACC Martin said.

“They will build up an enhanced knowledge through engagement with community representatives, local clergy, principals of schools and other key figures.

“The LPTs will continue to deliver core policing on a daily basis and work with a policing with the community mind-set at all times.

“We have undertaken a significant amount of work to look at what parts of Northern Ireland would benefit most from an additional NPTs.

“They will provide a dedicated extra policing presence, reassurance and commitment to communities where it is most needed.”