Plans to relocate the local police emergency response team to Ballymena have been branded “a step too far” by the Larne’s deputy mayor.
As reported in the Larne Times last week, the PSNI is considering combining the Larne and Ballymena 999 teams into a “single dedicated response team”, possibly with effect from September.
And Councillor Drew Niblock has spoken of his “shock and anger” at the proposed move, which he fears could turn the town into “a lawless badland”.
Cllr Niblock said: “As a Policing and Community Safety Partnership member, councillor and deputy mayor, I’m stunned at the lack of communication or consultation on this matter from the PSNI’s area commander.
“For years the PSNI has worked at changing its focus from being a ‘police force’ to becoming a ‘service’, but now it seems intent on changing this service into a ‘business’.
“This relocation has quite obviously been discussed at senior level for quite some time, evidently without any regard for the people of Larne.
“With the recent closure of Glenarm police station, the geographical spread of the borough and the limited infrastructure linking Larne with Ballymena, how exactly do the people of Larne expect to have a reliable, fit-for-purpose police force?
“I understand that with any organisation, budget constraints will play a part in how it is managed.
“However, the removal of some 20 officers from an already somewhat undermanned station is in my view a step too far.”
The PSNI has insisted the proposed change will not affect front-line policing in the Larne area or reduce response times.