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Police enquiry office axe ‘big blow’ for Banbridge as calls made to reverse decision

While no timeframe has been given at this stage, the local MP says it is expected to go within the next three months

Banbridge police station

The Banbridge police enquiry office has been earmarked for closure.

And the move – confirmed to elected representatives on Thursday – has been branded a “cost-cutting exercise”.

Meanwhile, there have been appeals to reverse the decision to close.

While no timeframe has been given at this stage, it is expected to go within the next three months.

The number of PSNI enquiry offices across Northern Ireland is set to be reduced from 28 to 17, with Banbridge among those earmarked.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has quick in her appeals for a change of minds.

It is expected that the closures will save the service around £400,000 a year.

Said the DUP MP: “This is a big blow to Banbridge and will undoubtedly give cause for concern with regards to accessibility to the station and subsequently to the local policing team. I have raised my concerns and asked for this decision to be reviewed.

“I am however reassured that this will in no way impact the ongoing policing footprint in Banbridge and that officers will continue to police the local community from Banbridge station. Additionally it will not impact station security.

“It will, however, be an inconvenience to those wishing to use the public facing enquiry facility to report in person a crime or incident, or present with documentation, organise street collections and fulfilling bail requirements. People are being advised to use their nearest which would be Lurgan, Ardmore, Armagh or Newry.

“This is very unfortunate and I have called on the Chief Constable to reconsider this decision based on the location of Banbridge with the A1 to Dublin corridor running so close to the area, the level of crime be it drugs, anti-social behaviour, theft amongst others.

“There is a feeling that Banbridge when it comes to policing cuts it often draws the short straw. That is no reflection on the exceptional officers and service we currently have but when neighbourhood policing teams were being lost, Banbridge lost its team whilst other areas remained.

“Thankfully we were able to have this reinstated, however, this latest blow will serve as bitter pill to swallow given the need for more accessibility not less.”

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