Three police stations to shut

THE Policing Board has approved the disposal of three north Antrim police stations, while one has managed to escape the axe.

A total of 21 stations will shut in a province-wide shake-up, while nine stations will close as a result of the plans. The future of a further four stations remains unclear.

The stations that will remain operational are Willowfield in east Belfast along with Ballynahinch, Warrenpoint, Holywood, Dunmurry, Beragh, Castlederg, Portrush and Cushendall stations.

North Queen Street, Donegall Pass, Knocknagoney and Ballynafeigh are the stations in Belfast to be disposed of along with Crossgar, Killyleagh, Saintfield, Comber, Donaghadee, Glengormley, Randalstown, Keady, Brownlow, Irvinestown, Fintona, Dungiven, Eglinton, Cloughmills, Bushmills, Glenarm and Garvagh stations.

The Policing Board said that the PSNI has committed to further consultation on the future of Hillsborough, Dromore, Portglenone and Broughshane stations.

Policing Board chairman Brian Rea said: “It is important that these disposals are viewed in the context of a police estate that fits modern policing requirements and ensures value for money.”

Welcoming the board’s endorsement, Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones said: “As with all other UK police services and publicly funded bodies, the PSNI has undertaken to deliver £135 million in efficiency savings back to the Government over the next four years.

“This means we cannot continue to fund the current size of our police estate, which is currently 70 per cent bigger in comparison to other UK police services of comparable size.

“I want to reassure the public that any reduction in the police estate does not equate with a reduction in service,” said the police chief.