A senior police officer has offered a reassurance that reducing enquiry office opening hours across Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon does not mean that “policing is broken”.
Superintendent David Moore was speaking after recent politicians and the public expressed views that there was a lack of cover across the area.
Yesterday, Armagh I reported that MLAs have voiced concerns that there would be a perceived lack of cover, with officers from Armagh having to travel as far as Banbridge to cover.
Today, Supt Moore gave an assurance that “policing remains a 24 hour, seven days a week operation”.
He said: “In response to concerns regarding the impact of station enquiry offices opening hours in Armagh, it is important the public is reassured that any reduction in enquiry office opening hours should not mean a reduction in our service.
“Policing remains a 24 hour, seven days a week operation and we will continue to be there at people’s time of need.
“Police activities within stations will continue as normal and we can be contacted 24 hours a day on either 101 or for emergencies on 999.
“The decision to reduce the opening hours for enquiry offices was driven by a need to reduce budget spend.
“However, it is too much of a jump to say it means that Banbridge station will be adversely affected. Policing is changing, but it is not broken. The focus is on keeping people safe and continuing that good work.”
Supt Moore met with key stakeholders earlier this year to discuss ongoing changes to local policing.
He added: “The changes to frontline policing are as a result a requirement to align with new council structures by April 1, as well as the severe, ongoing budget cuts facing the PSNI and decreasing resources.
“Our priority is to keep people safe and we will always keep the community at the heart of everything we do.
“It’s been well documented that the Police Service, along with all other public sector organisations, is facing significant levels of change.
“Our aim is to deliver change whilst ensuring that our service to the communities in Banbridge, Armagh and Craigavon towns and the outlying rural areas is fit for purpose and sustainable.
“Local Policing Teams are a new development for policing and, within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area, will be based in Lurgan and Armagh.
“LPTs will cover the whole Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. The intention is that they will not simply attend calls but will build up an enhanced knowledge of the areas they serve in through engagement with community representatives, local clergy, principals of schools and other key figures.
“The LPTs will be multi-functional and deliver core policing on a daily basis as well as find solutions to problems in a much more policing with the community style than the previous response teams.
“LPT officers will provide an extra level of commitment to allow for long term problem solving and develop partnerships in order to reduce offending and reduce crime.
“They will be involved in engagement, including mediation and conflict resolution.
“Residents throughout Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon can rest assured that police will continue to be available to them 24/7 and will continue to patrol and provide a visible presence in their area.
“If anyone has any further concerns, I would, as always, welcome the opportunity to discuss further.”
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