A PERIOD of public consultation is to be announced ahead of any decision being made on the potential closure of Glenarm police station.
Uncertainty continues to hang over the future of the coastal station since 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 could see the number of stations cut from 82 to 47 as part of the PSNI’s estate strategy. Concern has been raised locally that if the Glenarm and Cushendall stations were to close, it would mean that there would be no police stations along the coast between Larne and Ballycastle.
This week, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble, district commander in charge of the Larne area, announced that consultation with the public would commence shortly.
It follows the decision of the Northern Ireland Policing Board to endorse plans to consult with the community on the future of a number of police stations within the Police Estate. The agreement comes after a series of discussions and meetings between the Board and PSNI on the Estate Strategy.
“The PSNI has undertaken to deliver £135m in efficiency savings back to the government over the next four years,” said Chief Superintendent Noble.
“As part of this plan we must deliver a £2.2m 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.”
He explained that any potential reduction in the police estate does not equate with a reduction in service and said that the focus will remain on getting officers out of stations and onto the beat and into 24/7 mobile response teams.
“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.
“During the coming weeks, we will be assessing the operational need and will consult widely with local communities and representatives to develop and implement innovative and flexible policing initiatives, which will bring policing right to the heart of communities when and where it is needed.”
It is understood that information in relation to the consultation process will be announced in the coming weeks.