Cloughmills PSNI station decommissioning begins

CLOUGHMILLS police station is in the process of being decommissioned.

Workmen have been at the Main Street building for the past few weeks, dismantling the structure in preparation for a “new life”.

Some time ago, following meetings with local DPPs, Chief Superintendent Noble made a recommendation for the closure and disposal of six police stations including the two local facilities.

The closure proposals had 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, was taken to the Northern Ireland Policing Board by Assistant Chief Constable, Dave Jones for the Board’s information and decision on disposal.

Speaking following the announcement Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said: “As a result of an Estates Review during which a range of opinions were canvassed, I have reached the view that Broughshane, Bushmills, Cloughmills, Garvagh, Glenarm and Portglenone stations are 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 stations 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, are these stations 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 these buildings 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 our District, 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 H District and through Policing And Communities Together meetings (PACTs) and DPP/PCSPs, we will continue to engage with and deliver for all our community.

“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,” he concluded.

Area Commander Chief Inspector Brenda Cairns said: “My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that the people of Cloughmills and Bushmills have an effective Personal. Protective, Professional policing service which makes a positive contributution to the safety of all who live, work or socialise there.

“We have had discussions with the local community, elected representatives and the Police and Community Safety Partnerships about how we intend to deliver that service and we will continue to listen to the views of the community.

“Cloughmills and Bushmills deserve, and will receive the same policing services as the rest of Ballymoney and Moyle.

“In addition to responding to calls for assistance there will be local police surgeries where the community can engage with their local Neighbourhood Police officers.

“Problem solving initiatives with partner agencies are also integral to providing our service and this is done in conjunction with many different departments within the Police Service, such as CID, PPU, Crime Teams, Roads Policing to mention but a few.”