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Policing review pledge prompts calls for bollard removal to ‘transform’ Newtownhamilton Square

Councillor says 'badly needed parking' could be provided adding: 'In 2020, a police station should not resemble a barracks. That must change'

A promised review of policing in the south Armagh area should include the removal of security bollards in The Square in Newtownhamilton.

That is the message which is being given to Chief Constable Simon Byrne by one local councillor.

The features outside the security base in Newtownhamilton have been there for decades.

But removing them would have the potential to “transform The Square” and provide additional parking took.

The PSNI and Department of Infrastructure are being encouraged to work together to make it happen.

SDLP Councillor Pete Byrne has written to the PSNI to seek a meeting to explore the possibility.

He did so after meeting the Chief Constable earlier this month to discuss policing in the wake of a Christmas Day tweet showing ‘heavily armed’ officers at Crossmaglen.

Councillor Byrne said the security bollards had meant The Square had been closed off to the public long enough and now it was time to bring about change.

He said: “Having met with the Chief Constable, he gave me a clear commitment to work with elected representatives and the local community to help change the face of policing in south Armagh.

“It is important that the infrastructure that exists at police stations in Newtownhamilton and Crossmaglen is looked at as part of his review of policing in the area.

“The local community in Newtownhamilton have been asking for years now for the bollards to be removed to open up the front of the police station for parking which is badly needed.

“This comes at a time when The Square is in urgent need of repair works and I will be urging the Department of Infrastructure to assess the need for resurfacing.

“However, this brings forward the opportunity to transform The Square by encouraging the PSNI and the Department work together.

“The wider conversation on how we normalise policing in south Armagh needs to be undertaken and I’m keen that the infrastructure that exists is examined.

“In 2020, a police station should not resemble a barracks. That must change.

“The communities of Crossmaglen and Newtownhamilton deserve better and work must begin to transform the visibility and approach of policing as we enter a new decade.”

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