Community to be consulted on potential closure of station

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THE potential closure of Glenarm police station does not equate with a potential reduction in service, the PSNI chief superintendent with overall responsibility for Larne has stressed.

The part-time coastal station is one of a number across Northern Ireland currently under potential threat of closure, raising concerns locally over how the Glenarm and Carnlough area would be policed in future.

However, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble, H District Commander, has responded to fears over the potential impact on service delivery - and has stressed the local community will be consulted before any decisions are made.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the media recently about proposed closures of police stations in H District. I want to reassure the public that while we continue to look at the viability and value for money of certain stations, no decisions have yet been made. We are simply beginning a conversation about how policing delivers the best possible service within the realities of the current and future budget.

“I want to reassure our communities that any potential reduction in the police estate does not equate with a reduction in service and the focus will remain on getting officers out of stations and onto the beat and into 24/7 mobile response teams.

““The PSNI has undertaken to deliver £135m in efficiency savings back to the Government over the next four years. As part of this plan we must deliver a £5m saving in the estate budget in order to protect frontline staff and services. This means we cannot continue to fund the current size of our police estate if we want to protect frontline resources and service delivery and keep police officers at the heart of local communities.

“Discussions about our estate strategy with the Policing Board continue and before any decisions are made, we will consult with you, the local community, to ensure we have the right innovative and flexible policing initiatives in place, which will bring policing right to the centre of communities when and where it is needed,” he said.

Chief Supt Noble praised the Larne community for its continued support for and engagement with policing in the last year.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank you, the members of this community, for your support throughout 2011.

“Overall crime is down in many areas across this district and I want to assure you that we remain determined to provide you with the personal, professional, protective policing service that you deserve,” he said.

Commenting on the Police Service’s use of new media, Chief Supt Noble said that the community now engages with its police officers in so many new and different ways, from online reporting of non-emergency and hate crime, to interacting with local police on social networking sites. The public can also contact local Neighbourhood Policing Teams directly through telephone numbers provided on the website http://www.psni.police.uk/h-district.