Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 11:59 UK

PSNI planning three base closures

PSNI crest

The Police Service of Northern Ireland plans to close three rural police stations in County Tyrone.

The police intends to close stations in Pomeroy, Coagh and Stewartstown, but said they would consult with locals in the summer first.

District Commander Chief Superintendent Michael Skuce said the move should be seen in the context of the constraints on the policing budget.

He said he wanted more officers out on the streets rather than behind desks.

Last month proposals to cut the number of stations in the whole of County Fermanagh from seven to three were put out for consultation and schemes for cuts in the Dungannon and Omagh areas of Tyrone are expected to be outlined soon.

Appointment

Police said Pomeroy station was currently closed to the public, while Coagh was only open to them by appointment.

"My view is that Neighbourhood Police Team officers based on Cookstown can maintain these functions," Mr Skuce said.

"I believe the needs of the rural community can better be served by a greater flexibility of my officers and I want to see them out and about in the area, rather than being tied to police stations that, in any event, are no longer suitable for the purpose for which they were built."

Mr Skuce said he was exploring alternative methods of delivering policing and the use of a mobile police station was delivering accessible policing in many parts of County Fermanagh and could do so in the Cookstown area.

He insisted the PSNI remained committed to maintaining a service for all in the area.

The chief superintendent said he wanted to have a constructive debate with the people of the Cookstown area and a consultation period would run until mid-July.



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