District policing reform shake-up

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Superintendent Muir Clark has been appointed District Commander for Antrim and Newtownabbey amid a reform of district policing.

The move is part of the biggest shake-up in Northern Ireland policing in years, due to budget pressures and the need for district command boundaries to align with the new supercouncils.

Superintendant Clark, who will take up his post on February 16, will be responsible for all aspects of local policing. He will also set Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing District’s policing priorities along with the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

Commenting on the new policing structure, Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, the Senior Officer responsible for District Policing, stated:

“The new District Councils come into existence on April 1 2015, and I have been charged with shaping our front line service delivery so that our District Command boundaries mirror those councils.

“We will move from the existing seven policing Districts to 11. While leaner and more streamlined the new 11 Districts will focus on local priorities under the leadership of a District Commander.

“The Districts will be supported by an area co-ordinating tier covering Belfast and Northern and Southern parts of Northern Ireland. These will provide additional resources to help deal with local priorities and emerging threat, risk and harm issues. They will have the ability to muster and move resources to where the need is greatest on a daily basis.

“This structure will allow us to use officers and staff more flexibly and ensure we keep people safe across all our districts as well as providing local accountability and effective partnership working. Our aim is to ensure that our service to all communities in Northern Ireland is fit for purpose and sustainable while still delivering savings.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing District is within the Northern Area co-ordinating tier, which will be led by Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray in his new role as Area Co-ordinator.

Assistnat Constable Martin said that response teams would be replaced by a mixture of 25 Local Policing Teams (LPTs) and over 30 Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) as well as local detectives in each district. LPTs will deliver core policing on a daily basis while Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be based in areas of higher crime. There will be a partnership approach between LPTs and NPTs. All officers will now attend incidents, to investigate them and work with the community.