3 May 2012

Plans to sell 21 police stations across Northern Ireland have been endorsed by the Policing Board, while nine others also reviewed are to remain operational.

The Belfast stations to be shut are North Queen Street, Donegall Pass, Knocknagoney and Ballynafeigh.

Stations at Crossgar, Killyleagh, Saintfield, Comber and Donaghadee are also to close, along with Glengormley and Randalstown, Keady and Brownlow, Irvinestown and Fintona, Dungiven and Eglinton, Cloughmills, Bushmills, Glenarm and Garvagh.

“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,” Policing Board chairman Brian Rea said.

Welcoming the Policing Board’s endorsement of the plans, the PSNI said it would allow more officers to be out on the streets instead of confined to bases.

“Overall levels of reported crime in Northern Ireland are at a 12-year low. This reduction has been delivered by the public working in partnership with police officers, not by police buildings.”

–ACC Dave Jones

“Recent restructuring has delivered over 600 police officers to front-line duties,” Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones said.

“The distribution of smartphones to over 4,000 frontline police officers has reduced the need to return to a police station to complete administrative tasks – increasing the amount of time officers spend on patrol per shift by over two hours.”

The proposals to close four other stations – Hillsborough, Dromore, Portglenone and Broughshane – were met with community concerns which have been taken on board by the PSNI.

According to Mr Rea, the PSNI has “committed to further engagement in transition to a disposal in the current CSR period which ends 1 April 2015” regarding those four stations.