BUSHMILLS Police Station is facing the axe but Cushendall Station is set to be safe.
H District Commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble, told Moyle District Policing Partnership of his recommendation for the closure and disposal of Bushmills Station and he says it has been proposed that Cushendall Station remains part of the police estate.
The proposals have been made by the H District Commander following a period of review and consultation with the community and its representatives.
The recommendation, once approved by the Police Service Senior Executive Team, will be taken to the Northern Ireland Policing Board by Assistant Chief Constable, Dave Jones, for the Board’s information and decision on disposal.
Mr Noble said: “As a result of an Estates Review during which a range of opinions were canvassed, I have reached the view that Bushmills Station is no longer required operationally and have recommended closure.
“I know that many people will be disappointed with this decision; the level of support and emotion for local police officers and the station was powerfully expressed. However, it reflects the harsh realities of the current financial environment and the need for policing, like health, education and other public services, to live within their means.
“At the core of the decision were two critical considerations that reflect the challenges of policing in 2012. First, is this station absolutely necessary to deliver policing, recognising that nearly all policing services are delivered outside its buildings? Second, will saving the money that we currently spend on this building assist me in doing all I can to protect the numbers of police officers, especially neighbourhood officers, who serve this local area?
“My decision reflects not only the current challenges facing policing but also recognises that even more challenging times lie ahead. So to summarise, unless a station is operationally critical to the delivering of policing in this District then I have chosen to protect police officers over police stations. Whilst I take no pleasure in making this recommendation, it is my responsibility as a professional police officer to take it.
“I want to reassure the public that any reduction in the police estate does not equate with a reduction in service.
“Overall levels of reported crime in Northern Ireland are at 12-year low and in Moyle, overall recorded crime has fallen over the last 12 months. This reduction has been delivered by the public working in partnership with police officers, not by police buildings. We will continue to provide the best possible policing service to the people in Moyle and through Policing And Communities Together meetings (PACTs) and DPP/PCSPs, we will continue to engage with and deliver for all our community.
“In conclusion, I want to thank those of you who took the time to present your views to me, not only on police stations but with regards to the policing service you receive. I hope that you will understand the difficult decisions I have had to take and the rationale behind it,” said Mr Noble.