Belfast Telegraph

Temporary station closure will ‘help to tackle crime’

by Michael Bashford

Newtownabbey Police Station is to close between 11pm and 8amTHE Enquiry Office at Newtownabbey Police Station will operate temporary opening hours from next month.

The office will be closed to the public between 11pm and 8am.

The PSNI said that additional officers will be freed up for front-line policing duties during these hours.

The decision comes following a “wide-reaching” communication process across D District over recent months during which senior officers met with politicians, DPP members and other community leaders to explain the rationale behind their decision and provide reassurance that the move would help police be even more responsive to the needs of the community.

Apart from Newtownabbey, the changes in enquiry office opening hours will also affect Antrim, Carrickfergus and Lisburn police stations.

The general enquiry offices will be open seven days a week between 8am and 11 pm. Between 11pm and 8am the enquiry offices will no longer be staffed — so anyone coming to the station, for example, to hand in driving documents, will be asked to return after 8am.

However, police will continue to respond and assist anyone coming to the station in an emergency situation and the enquiry office will still be accessible as a place of safety.

“All four stations have 24 hour security personnel on duty who can ensure that the appropriate resources are tasked in an emergency and members of the public get quick and professional assistance.

“Research conducted showed that police stations receive a very small number of callers trying to attend to routine matters between the hours of 11pm and 8am. The changes will bring D District in line with other parts of Northern Ireland and the UK.”

Area Commander Chief Inspector Paula Hilman said the aim of the changes was to maximise resources and to get more officers back on the streets to respond to calls from members of the public.

“Members of the public constantly tell us that they want more police officers back on the beat to respond to the crimes that matter to them the most — anti-social behaviour, burglaries, car crime etc.

“This is about ensuring that we have the right people, in the right places, at the right time.

“It will not mean a reduction in service, people can still report crime and incidents via 999, the non-emergency number 0845 600 8000, or go to the stations in an emergency.”

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