Closure of Ballymoney police station to public ‘retrograde’ step, claim

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Police have pointed to the different ways people are accessing their services in response to concerns over plans of closing Ballymoney PSNI Station to the public.

They note that advances in technology have made it possible to deliver new ways of reporting crime, filling out official forms and engaging with officers.

Alderman John Finlay.

Alderman John Finlay.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “In light of these changes and with consideration to best and most effective use of police resources against ever reducing budgets, PSNI have conducted a review of station enquiry office provision across Northern Ireland.

“I have consequently written to the Northern Ireland Policing Board in relation to the future planned, effective use of enquiry offices across Northern Ireland.”

Alderman John Finlay warned such a move will be a “retrograde” step for the town and is calling for answers on how the decision was arrived at.

In a statement, the Causeway Coast and Glens Council representative said: “Despite the fact that we have a modern station with excellent facilities, I now understand that the station will be closed to the public from March 31 2017.

“In addition, while officers will continue to operate from the station, these will not be local police.

“This is a hugely regrettable and retrograde step. The PSNI often stress the importance of community policing and the need for public confidence in the police.

“The planned closure of the station to the public, and the absence of local police officers, will have a negative impact on the effectiveness of policing in the town.”

Mr Finlay added: “As a locally elected representative, I would like to know what community consultation has taken place over this significant move. I certainly am not aware of any.

“Meanwhile, I would like the PSNI to explain to me, and to the people of the town, how this decision was arrived at, and how they feel the move will improve the standard of policing in Ballymoney.”