Concerns have been voiced about the future of policing in Ballyclare after the PSNI confirmed that the town’s police station is to be sold.
While there has not yet been a public announcement about the future of the Ballynure Road facility, political and community representatives have received correspondence saying it is to be ‘disposed of’.
UUP Cllr David Arthurs said: “In October 2008 the PSNI spent almost £200,000 of public money on refurbishing Ballyclare Police Station.
“Today’s announcement by the Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, in which he said the station is now to close and be disposed of is a disgrace.
“In April 2015 we lost our neighbourhood policing team in the town, they used the station a few hours a week and today’s news only goes to show the further lack of policing and safety measures in place for people in the Ballyclare area.
“The town isn’t getting any smaller, with new housing developments going up on the Hillhead Road and the plans for the site between the Doagh Road and Templepatrick Road make this a nonsense decision. “Traders also need peace of mind that their businesses are going to be given the proper protection.
“I call on Minster of Justice and South Antrim MLA David Ford to consider what affect this will have on the people of the area.
“It isn’t right that for an area such as Ballyclare, the closest police station is eight miles away.”
Commenting on the issue, PCSP Chair, DUP Cllr Linda Clarke said: “I have been contacted by the District Commander for Antrim and Newtownabbey, Muir Clark, who has said that an announcement will be made later on today on the future of the Ballyclare station.”
Relating to the situation in Randalstown, where the police station is closed, Cllr Clarke said: “After the police station closed in Randalstown, officers are not in the town as often as before. When the station was there, there was more police activity. The police try not to make a link between the lack of officers on the ground and the anti-social behaviour that has been taking place in the area. The same thing could now happen in Ballyclare.”
The Times contacted the PSNI, but did not receive a response at the time of writing.