Community use idea ‘could help save police station from closure’

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LARNE District Policing Partnership is to write to PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to try to save Glenarm station from closure.

The local body unanimously agreed to take action to protect the future of the part-time coastal station just days after it was revealed it was included on a list of one-third of Northern Ireland’’s police stations that potentially could be closed within three years.

Plans to sell off 35 stations were discussed during a private Policing Board meeting and, if endorsed by the board next month, it will see the number of stations cut from 82 to 47 as part of the PSNI’s estate strategy.

While some senior officers may believe that finances could be better used on officers rather than rarely-used buildings, Larne DPP has given a resounding ‘‘no’’ to any intention of closing the Glenarm station.

It has also been suggested that a way to safeguard the station would be for the building to be offered for community use as well as for police activities.

Chairman, Councillor Winston Fulton, warned that if Glenarm and Cushendall stations were to closure then there would be no police station between Larne and Ballycastle.

“”We should put up a battle to keep the station open. It is important for the rural area and for the people who live there,”” he said.

Councillor Gerardine Mulvenna also said that if the station was to closure it would be another service taken away from the rural area.

Larne PSNI sector commander, Inspector Noel Rogan outlined that although the Glenarm station was only opened between 5pm and 7pm three days a week, it was a flexible arrangement. There are usually four officers stationed there, he added.

““There are other stations which may be on the list for potential closure that are in close proximity to Belfast, but support for Larne and Glenarm comes over the mountain. It is a quite remote location and we have to travel miles to get to another station.

“”There are issues down the coast at the moment and it is a reassuring presence to have a station there,”” said Insp Rogan.

He said he would like to see the Glenarm station put to community use as well as a police base.

““Perhaps you need to look at how it can be incorporated within community activities. Could other agencies use it too? Perhaps if we partnered up it could save the station from closure,”” the inspector suggested.