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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Police confirm closure of 11 Station Enquiry Offices across Northern Ireland

PSNI logo sign on wall

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed it is to close 11 Station Enquiry Offices across the province.


The Service is currently progressing the closure of the following enquiry offices:


In Belfast: Lisburn Road, Strand Town, Tennent Street and Woodbourne

Bangor,

Banbridge,

Magherafelt,

Dungannon,

Lisnaskea,

Waterside,

Newtownabbey.



The timescale for these closures is not yet clear - there are also a number of technical and practical matters that we need to address - but is likely to be within the next three months.  These are not station closures and each of the police stations mentioned will remain operational.


Speaking about this decision Assistant Chief Constable for Local Policing, Bobby Singleton said:


“Last month the Chief Constable informed the Northern Ireland Policing Board that as a consequence of the current financial and resource pressures facing the Police Service, the decision has been taken to reduce the number of Station Enquiry Offices from 28 to 17. 



“This decision follows an extensive review which included analysis of the volume and type of demand in enquiry offices. This review concluded that against the backdrop of wider resource challenges, the current service is neither sustainable nor effective.”


ACC Singleton added:


“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and see we are conscious there may be an actual or perceived loss of accessibility, visibility and ability to respond to the needs of the community. However, the PSNI is facing unprecedented financial pressure and savings are necessary to deliver a sustainable and effective organisation.



“The Chief Constable has been clear for some time that difficult decisions are going to have to be taken. The Police Service is shrinking and as a result, the level of service the public can expect to see is going to change.


“It is important to emphasise that these are not station closures. Police Officers and staff will continue to serve the community from these locations. Our analysis shows that even with the reduced arrangement over 90% of households in Northern Ireland will be within 15 miles of a station Enquiry Office. The average household is 10.7 miles from their nearest office (an increase of 4 miles) or 18.5 minutes by car (an increase of 1.5 minutes).


“The need for clarity and transparency on this issue is paramount. We want to be clear with the public about the challenges we are facing and the type of Service they can expect to see in the coming years.”



The Police Service of Northern Ireland currently operates 28 Enquiry Offices across Northern Ireland.  One of these sites, Musgrave Street in Belfast, operates 24/7 with Strand Road, Derry/Londonderry, opening for 76 hours per week and the remaining 26 sites opening for 40 hours per week.


These ‘front counters’ are operated by Station Enquiry Assistants (SEAs), employed by a third party private sector contractor as part of a managed services contract.


This decision will represent a significant financial saving and maximise the availability of officers for critical service provision within communities.

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