Risk of closure at Glenarm police station

GLENARM police station could close within the next three years under radical new plans by the PSNI.

Almost half of Northern Ireland’s 82 stations have been earmarked for closure by 2015, with Glenarm potentially to shut down in 2013-14.

But chairman of the Larne District Policing Partnership, DUP Alderman Winston Fulton said local elected representatives would battle to keep the rural station up and running.

He added: “Glenarm police station has been under threat of closure a number of times, and the DPP and Larne Council have always fought to save it. We must continue to do this, as it is important for a station to remain in that area to give people of mind to rural residents.”

With Cushendall station also facing closure, there would be no permanent police presence along the Antrim Coast between Larne and Ballycastle, which Ald Fulton deemed to be “unacceptable”.

“There has been a lot of burglaries in rural parts of the borough recently, and taking police resources out of the area is not going to instill confidence in local people. This is a very worrying situation, and could lead to people feeling more isolated than they do already.

“The DPP and the council will continue to act as a strong voice in favour of retaining Glenarm station, and we as a party will also be lobbying against these plans.”

When asked if he feared that Larne police station could be next in the firing line, Ald Fulton said: “The recently opened detention centre at Larne police station should ensure that the station remains open for the foreseeable future, and the police have always given us a guarantee that the station will not close.

“However, the situation within the PSNI is changing constantly, and no one seems to know what is going to happen next. Therefore these assurances from police may not last.

“Policing on the east Antrim coast seems to be run from Ballymena, and I would hope that the planned closure of Glenarm station is not a step towards one day closing Larne station as well.”

The proposals will have to be ratified by the Policing Board next month.