Recent news of radical PSNI restructuring has fuelled fears for the future of Dromore’s Neighbourhood Policing Team.
The loss of the Dromore team, considered the mainstay of local policing since the closure of the town’s PSNI station, would unaceptably undermine effective policing of the area, according to Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson.
Mr Donaldson and party colleague Brenda Hale are seeking a meeting with the Banbridge District Commander in coming weeks to discuss concerns over the local impact of the restructuring of PSNI resources and proposed changes in the way policing services are to be delivered in Northern Ireland.
The two have given voice to fears of an adverse impact on response times, with the future of a number of local Neighbourhood policing teams threatened, they said, under the restructuring.
Lagan Valley MLA Mrs Hale said: “When we opposed the closure of Dromore Police Station, we were assured that local policing would not be adversely impacted, with our Dromore Neighbourhood Policing Team, based in the Banbridge Station, covering the Dromore area. Under the proposed PSNI restructuring changes we are greatly concerned for the future of our local neighbourhood police team.
“If the operative PSNI response unit based in Banbridge Police Station is relocated to Lurgan, Newry, or Armagh, then of course people in Dromore will have concerns over Policing response times. These are issues we will be raising with the District Commander.”
Mr Donaldson added: “The proposed changes to local policing are a real matter for concern.
“Under the Patten reforms we were told that community and neighbourhood policing were central to the new policing arrangements. If Dromore loses its local neighbourhood policing team, then vital contact with the public will be lost and the effectiveness of policing in the town and its environs will be undermined.
“Frankly, we need to know what will happen to the neighbourhood officers and why are they being redeployed. Has someone come up with a more effective plan for policing the community? If so, we need to hear what it is.
“On the face of it, and in the absence of a clear alternative plan, these changes are unacceptable”