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Last Updated: Friday, 25 March, 2005, 16:08 GMT
Police to transfer from Army base
More police are to be deployed to the area
More police are to be deployed to the area
Policing services in south Armagh are being transferred from Forkhill Army base to Crossmaglen police station.

The move is being made following a review of policing in the area.

Members of Newry and Mourne District Policing Partnership have been briefed on the new arrangements by the Chief Superintendent Bobby Hunniford.

He said he believed the changes, which take effect from 1 May, will improve police services in the area.

The level of service to the Forkhill area will be maintained, as a number of officers will continue to serve in Crossmaglen.

Other officers from Forkhill will join colleagues in Bessbrook and Newtownhamilton and more officers are to be assigned to the south Armagh area in May, increasing the overall number of officers.

Republicans want Army watch towers dismantled
Republicans want Army watch towers dismantled

Mr Hunniford said: "Local people will see a significant change in policing style.

"I call on members of the community in Forkhill, Crossmaglen, Bessbrook and Newtownhamilton to support their local officers as they strive to provide policing services to them through working in partnership. "

SDLP Newry Armagh assembly member Dominic Bradley said he welcomed any move towards the "full normalisation of policing and the further implementation of Patten."

He said the SDLP wanted to see all military installations in south Armagh removed.

'Cosmetic moves'

"The intrusive British Army presence must be removed. The SDLP have been in negotiations with the British Government in respect of demilitarisation in South Armagh and have presented our proposals for how it can be achieved in a quick timescale. "

Sinn Fein assembly member for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy said: "On the one hand we were told the British Army is there to support the PSNI, whilst on the other hand the Forkhill community are now being told, the PSNI are vacating but the military occupation is staying put.

"The amount of military activity, the telecommunication masts and surveillance apparatus reinforces the vast majority of residents' fears that this station is a major monitoring centre for the entire area.

"The people of this area have witnessed these types of cosmetic PR moves before and are not that easily fooled."

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