RESIDENTS, community groups, politicians and business representatives have made appeals to the PSNI to save Glengormley Police Station from closure.
On Monday night, Area Commander Chief Inspector Stephen Reid conducted a public meeting for the local community to air their views on the possible closure of the Antrim Road facility.
The PSNI is conducting an extensive review of its estate and has earmarked 34 stations for possible closure in order to save millions from its budget.
This Sunday, March 11, is the deadline for submissions to the public consultation process on the Glengormley facility.
Opening the meeting at Mossley Mill, Chief Inspector Reid outlined the reasoning for the station’s closure and how it will have little impact on frontline policing.
He said: “The public are engaging with the police in many different ways, we have a very active Facebook profile and our Neighbourhood Officers’ mobile numbers are available on our website.
“Neighbourhood Policing is very different to any other kind of policing. The teams work within the community, they build relationships and work to build trust as part of our commitment to provide a personal professional and protective service.
“Plus our officers have the use of Blackberry smartphones which has reduced the need for them to return to base, which can mean about an extra half an hour for officers out on the beat.”
Glengormley police station was first opened in 1939 and operations were scaled down in November 2006 leaving only the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) based there.
Chief Inspector Reid told the meeting there were, on average, six people, visiting the station a month and it cost the service over £160,000 per year to run the facility.
He added: “We have a large police estate, 70 per cent larger in comparison to other forces in the UK. Restructuring has seen more officers taken from the back office to the frontline and crime is at an all time low for the past 12 years.
“But like health and education, we have to balance the books and make savings.”
Councillor and member of the Antrim Line Policing Forum, John Blair, appealed for the police to withhold any decision on the station’s closure for at least five years.
Mr Blair said the removal of the station would “harm confidence in policing in the community.”
Glengormley Traders’ Association Secretary Nigel Hamilton and Chairman Ed Burns urged the police to guarantee that service levels would be maintained if the station closed.
Read the full story in this week’s Times...