Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Policing body withdraws support for PSNI chief

A district Policing Partnership has unanimously declared a vote of no confidence in a PSNI commander following a row over station opening hours.

Members of Lisburn DPP have now withdrawn all co-operation with Chief Superintendent Henry Irvine, saying that he failed to consult with them on plans to close the city’s police station to the public at night.

The PSNI said Mr Irvine took the decision to shut the inquiry office between 11pm and 8am to allow police “to free up valuable resources” and called on the community and the DPP to support his decision.

District commanders across Northern Ireland are reviewing station opening hours as part of Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s urgent plans to reorganise his police service and move 600 desk-bound officers back onto the streets. However, members of Lisburn DPP said they are not angry about the decision to reduce the inquiry office opening hours, but about the way in which it was handled, claiming it was not discussed with them.

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn, who proposed the motion to declare a vote of no confidence in the police chief during a DPP meeting on Tuesday night, said: “We have had some difficulty with the district commander on different occasions over the future of Dromara and Hillsborough stations, and now Lisburn. It is not the decision that he has reached, it was his failure to consult with us. Consultation with the PSNI is what the DPP is all about. We have demanded a meeting with the Policing Board to try and sort this out.”

DUP councillor and DPP member Paul Girvan said: “The decision taken by Lisburn DPP was taken after a long period of time during which members felt they had been treated with contempt.”

A PSNI spokeswoman said Mr Irvine, who has also reviewed the public opening hours of Antrim, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey stations, as revealed last week by the Belfast Telegraph, met with DPP chairs and managers from the towns affected last September to brief them on a number of proposals, including the reduction in station opening hours.

She said: “The district commander then wrote to all four DPP chairs last week to inform of the changes and to explain the context of why the decisions were made.”

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