Willowfield station to reduce opening hours
Willowfield Police station is to reduce its opening hours, prompting fears the station may close.
The move comes as statistics show the local station receives very few calls from members of the public.
From April 5, the enquiry office — which currently has limited opening hours — will be open to the public on Tuesdays from 9am to 11am, Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm and on Saturdays from 12 noon to 2pm.
A PSNI spokesperson said the move would “allow more officers to be deployed to respond to the needs of the community”.
But one local councillor has said he will “fight” the move, fearing it will lead to the station’s permanent closure.
Speaking to The CT, Victoria councillor Jim Rodgers added: “Willowfield was already working on reduced hours and I fear this move will lead to a permanent closure within a few years.
“Residents are against this move and I will be writing to Acting District Commander Superintendant Chris Noble about the issue.”
Strandtown station — where all response officers for east Belfast are based — will continue to remain open 24 hours, seven days a week.
In the future Willowfield will be staffed exclusively by local Neighbourhood Officers with an interest in community issues.
Acting District Commander Superintendant Chris Noble said the changes aimed to maximise resources and to get more officers back on the streets to respond to calls.
He added: “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 and car crime.
“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.”