Closing police station ‘would be huge blow’

MLA William Irwin is concerned about the future of Tandragee Police Station. INPT08-013
MLA William Irwin is concerned about the future of Tandragee Police Station. INPT08-013
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Concerns have been raised that Tandragee Police Station could close under changes planned within E District.

MLA William Irwin said he had received “a number of representations from sources within the PSNI” which pointed strongly to the possibility that the station is earmarked for closure.

The Newry and Armagh Assemblyman said any decision to close the station would be a huge, backward step in visible, accessible and responsive policing.

He pointed out that there had been a number of recent incidents in the Tandragee area where homes had been burgled, while in recent days in Markethill there had been thefts and attempted thefts of vehicles.

“Earmarking Tandragee station for closure would be a serious set-back and really would be a green light for criminals who already operate with a worrying degree of confidence throughout the district,” he said.

“In addition to the local neighbourhood policing team a number of other units and departments are located within Tandragee station and to lose these all from the town would be a huge blow.

“Inevitably response times will also increase if the station closes, as first responders will have much further to travel.”

Mr Irwin added, “The information I have received is alarming, as it is not that long ago since a similar situation occurred with the station in Markethill.”

He said he would be raising the issue with the Chief Constable and that his colleagues, Cllr Gareth Wilson and Cllr Lavelle McIlwrath, will also be making their concerns known at the next Policing Community Safety Partnership meeting.

Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields said, “No decision has been made in relation to Tandragee police station. However, we continue to review our estate on a regular basis.

“This year we had to make cuts of over £38m from our budget and next year’s reductions will also be in the region of £40m... The reality is that nearly all policing services are delivered outside of stations.”