Seventeen police stations to close

Whilst the closure of rural police stations is viewed with nervousness and even anger amongst most unionists, the SDLP has long advocated it as being in line with modern policing methods which use mobile communications and releasing more personnel for work on the ground. Direct rule minister Shaun Woodward is forcing the issue. But it’s also hard not to wonder whether this an initial move in this summer’s choreography?

  • barney

    According to a NIPB survey, 83% of people have some degree of confidence in the PSNI’s ability to deal with ordinary crime – up 6%. Looks like the policy of closing stations has done wonders for the PSNI’s image. Confidence in them should reach 100% when they dispand completely.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Small out stations have limited use and add nothing to response times but they are expensive to maintain. Beside which response times do next to nothing to reduce crime either. As long as you do respond at some point how fast makes little difference as the police rarely if ever get there during the commission of a crime. The biggest variable is actually how quickly its reported not the response time.

    I would like to see the numbers on the 17 stations in question before coming to a final judgment but my instinct is that none of these stations make a blind bit of difference to police effectiveness. It’s of course a sensitive local issue as people like the idea of their own local stations but the footfall in these places is oftentimes less than 10 people a week and at god knows what cost per person. Finite resources are available so you have got to make some tough choices. My biggest disappointment is that I just wish politicians would make more effort to actually think about the back issues before jumping onto the ‘hell no’ bandwagon. Are elected representative’s just articulate (sometimes not even) mouthpieces for local opinion, or do they have a leadership function in sometimes communicating the rational of the decisions made by public organizations back to the public? I like to think the rile of an MLA is bit more than just an elected local slabber but it seems that I keep getting proved wrong.

    On a loosely connected note. What the hell is Jim Rodgers on about complaining about the police statistics? Beside the fact that I would be surprised if he knew the difference between a standard deviation and a confidence interval anyway I just can not understand his desire to check the police statistics to confirm they are not cheating? Besides the fact that they are just pretty straight numbers gathering not sampling anyhow it seemed weird to me. I suppose there might be a rational behind it anyone care to hazard a guess?

  • JD

    If some unionists in Fermanagh dearly want their police stations retained, then the people of Rosemount in Derry will happily swap with you. The entire Rosemount community want this unsightly monstrosity on their doorsteps removed. This has been demonstrated in survey after survey. An attempt was recently made to enter Rosemount Barracks into the Guinness Book of World Records as the least used urban police station in the world. Last year 12 people visited the station and 8 of those were there to hand in protest letters demanding the bases removal. Arlene its all yours.

  • glensman

    On that note they are more than welcome to have Cushendall’s Station, it is an eyesore behond belief. It is a completely over-the-top installation. What ever happened to demilitarisation?

  • Comrade Rosa

    It was amusing how almost everyone on the news yesterday complained about how tragic it was that the seventeen police stations were to be shut. Do they honestly expect there to be a massive surge in crime in Caledon because the residents might have to use the station in Aughnacloy a whole – wait for it – 8 miles away? People in Tyrone have better things to do than steal other people’s belongings – they’ve got the Ulster Final next week against Armagh for instance. And, eh, the Hugo Duncan show.

    Look into the pre-election manifestos of any party in the UK or Ireland these days and you’ll see a promise for “more bobbies on the beat”. It’s a nice little soundbite that makes the sufficiently dumbed down electorate feel safe. In truth, you’re just chucking the public’s money away so a few bloated peelers can go walkies and get paid ridiculous amounts for it. I ain’t no PSNI-basher (in fact some of them look quite dashing!) but we really do have too many stations and too many cops.

    There is one solution to all of this that could keep people reasonably happy. I remember driving through Mayo many years ago (I forget whereabouts) and seeing a Garda station that had it not been for the sign outside it saying “GARDA” could well have been mistaken for someone’s garden shed. Titter ye not for therein lies the solution to Ulster’s policing woes. Do places like Forkhill, Newtownbutler, Caledon, etc really need ugly garrisons looking as if they were lifted straight from ‘Apocalypse Now’? On the other hand, do they need to be closed completely? No. Keep everyone happy – Prods and Taigs. While cities and towns can have standard sized cop shops, we can cover every village, small town and hamlet in Northern Ireland with a PSNI station-cum garden shed giving absolutely everywhere an affordable policing presence. They could be little one-room thingymajigs that open on a part-time basis and have nothing more than a few chairs and a kettle (for the tea). Who needs Hugh Orde?!!

    Finally, pardon me for my ignorance, but why was Crossmaglen not included in the list of proposed closures? Has it been used at any point in recent memory?

  • George

    The DUP’s Arlene Foster gives out yards about the police stations being removed even though she freely admits the shake-up will mean more police numbers to tackle crime.

    Why are they needed then? Arlene cited the border, whatever that is supposed to mean.

    If in doubt blame the south seems to be the DUP way these days.

  • Alan McDonald

    Duncan,

    How are you finding the governance of policing here in the US? Since we have different layers of government, it is the municipality that runs the local police force, if it can afford one.

    The town that I live in in upstate New York has its own police force, and it’s the single largest item in the budget. No politician from either party (we only have two) has had the courage to suggest that we can’t afford local policing and should rely on the county sheriff instead.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Policing in the USA does seem sometimes confused due to the multiplicity of agencies involved. It seems like a lot of energy goes into managing the relationships. Although in smaller towns a small local elected, or supported sheriff is probably no bad thing. For the bulk of minor matters they are perfectly capable of dealing with the policing issues and have a degree of local connection that would be lost to an larger multi area agency. For major investigations the degree of specialisation required probably needs a larger agency.

    So from my perspective if I get murdered in Cambridge the local police are not up to it and the State Police Homicide unit would pick it up. That seems like a sensible enough division to me. It get more confused once you cross the river as the Boston Police have a perfectly capable homicide unit but the state police would still also potentially have jurisdiction. Once you add the Federal Agencies as well it can get quite confused and I wonder how much gets lost between the cracks as the DEA and FBI and BPD all go after different parts of the same things e.g. drugs, supports prostitution, leads to immigration abuses and sex slavery, leads to violence, leads to gun smuggling, leads to murder. This could be FBI, DEA, ATF, State Police and BPD all in that sequence of offences. That’s a lot of complication.

  • GavBelfast

    Geortge, unless you are joking, just HOW bloomin’ sensitive are you?

    I must say I do like Comrade Rosa’s idea – taking a leaf out of the South’s book, a little PSNI presence in every small town might well provide a homely reassurance. But how much would they still be at risk?

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am insensitive but I would ask how sensitive Arlene is if she thinks everyone in Fermanagh wants 17 lumping big military installations scattered all across their beautiful county when they don’t improve policing one iota (a strong case could be made that they disimprove it) and just cost heaps of money.

    Easy for her to want them to stay because neither she nor her cohorts are paying. I tell you one thing, if the cost of these things were to be met with a local tax they’d probably all be ripped down by the end of the year.

    I think the time will come, and hopefully it’s approaching soon, when you can safely have small partially-manned police stations in the villages of Fermanagh but the first step is removing the visible signs of the the police’s previous military existence.

    I suppose Arlene sees them and is somehow soothed to think that these installations will somehow ensure this little part of Ireland remains part of the British relm for ever and ever but, under the new political dispensation agreed by the people of this island, that’s not the new NI police force’s job in the 21st century even it has been in the past.

    NI will remain British as long as the majority so wish. If they don’t it won’t. Simple as that. These money pits don’t make a jot of difference so get rid of them.

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am being insensitive but how sensitive is Arlene if she thinks the majority of people in Fermanagh want these lumping big installations blighthing their beautiful county, costing buckets of money and adding nothing to the policing of the area.

    I tell you one thing, if Arlene and her cohorts had to foot the bill to keep these things as part of a local tax they would be all gone by the end of the year.

    Arlene seems to forget that it is no longer the job of the police in Northern Ireland to ensure this part of Ireland remains part of the British realm forever and ever.

    Under the new political dispensation on this island, agreed by the people of this island, NI will remain British as long as a majority so wish. If and when they don’t, it won’t.

    These installations are part of the police force’s military past (justified or not is irrelevant in 2005) and as they serve as daily reminders of what happened, if anything they are holding up what everyone wants, an acceptable police force for all.

    I think in the hopefully not too distant future Fermanagh will have partially-manned police stations in their villages, which are wanted and coveted by their communities.

    The first step on this road, however, is to remove the vestiges of the police force’s previous role in the community as it should be consigned (gloriously/infamously take your pick according to position) to the past.

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am being insensitive but how sensitive is Arlene if she thinks the majority of people in Fermanagh want these lumping big installations blighthing their beautiful county, costing buckets of money and adding nothing to the policing of the area.

    I tell you one thing, if Arlene and her cohorts had to foot the bill to keep these things as part of a local tax they would be all gone by the end of the year.

    Arlene seems to forget that it is no longer the job of the police in Northern Ireland to ensure this part of Ireland remains part of the British realm forever and ever.

    Under the new political dispensation on this island, agreed by the people of this island, NI will remain British as long as a majority so wish. If and when they don’t, it won’t.

    These installations are part of the police force’s military past (justified or not is irrelevant in 2005) and as they serve as daily reminders of what happened, if anything they are holding up what everyone wants, an acceptable police force for all.

    I think in the hopefully not too distant future Fermanagh will have partially-manned police stations in their villages, which are wanted and coveted by their communities.

    The first step on this road, however, is to remove the vestiges of the police force’s previous role in the community as it should be consigned (gloriously/infamously take your pick according to position) to the past.

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am being insensitive but how sensitive is Arlene if she thinks the majority of people in Fermanagh want these lumping big installations blighthing their beautiful county, costing buckets of money and adding nothing to the policing of the area.

    I tell you one thing, if Arlene and her cohorts had to foot the bill to keep these things as part of a local tax they would be all gone by the end of the year.

    Arlene seems to forget that it is no longer the job of the police in Northern Ireland to ensure this part of Ireland remains part of the British realm forever and ever.

    Under the new political dispensation on this island, agreed by the people of this island, NI will remain British as long as a majority so wish. If and when they don’t, it won’t.

    These installations are part of the police force’s military past (justified past or not is irrelevant in 2005) and as they serve as daily reminders of what happened, if anything they are holding up what hopefully everyone wants, an acceptable police force for all.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that in the not too distant future Fermanagh will have partially-manned police stations in their villages, which are wanted and indeed coveted by their communities.

    2020 Belfast Telegraph Headline: “Foster demands small rural police stations must stay open as cuts bite.”

    The first step on this road, however, is to remove the vestiges of the police force’s previous role in the community as it should be consigned (gloriously/infamously take your pick according to position) to the past.

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am being insensitive but how sensitive is Arlene if she thinks the majority of people in Fermanagh want these lumping big installations blighthing their beautiful county, costing buckets of money and adding nothing to the policing of the area.

    I tell you one thing, if Arlene and her cohorts had to foot the bill to keep these things as part of a local tax they would be all gone by the end of the year.

    Arlene seems to forget that it is no longer the job of the police in Northern Ireland to ensure this part of Ireland remains part of the British realm forever and ever.

    Under the new political dispensation on this island, agreed by the people of this island, NI will remain British as long as a majority so wish. If and when they don’t, it won’t.

    These installations are part of the police force’s military past (justified past or not is irrelevant in 2005) and as they serve as daily reminders of what happened, if anything they are holding up what hopefully everyone wants, an acceptable police force for all.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that in the not too distant future Fermanagh will have partially-manned police stations in their villages, which are wanted and indeed coveted by their communities.

    Possible 2020 Belfast Telegraph Headline: “Foster demands small rural police stations must stay open as cuts bite.”

    The first step on this road, however, is to remove the vestiges of the police force’s previous role in the community as it should be consigned (gloriously/infamously take your pick according to position) to the past.

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am being insensitive but how sensitive is Arlene if she thinks the majority of people in Fermanagh want these lumping big installations blighthing their beautiful county, costing buckets of money and adding nothing to the policing of the area.

    I tell you one thing, if Arlene and her cohorts had to foot the bill to keep these things as part of a local tax they would be all gone by the end of the year.

    Arlene seems to forget that it is no longer the job of the police in Northern Ireland to ensure this part of Ireland remains part of the British realm forever and ever.

    Under the new political dispensation on this island, agreed by the people of this island, NI will remain British as long as a majority so wish. If and when they don’t, it won’t.

    These installations are part of the police force’s military past (justified past or not is irrelevant in 2005) and as they serve as daily reminders of what happened, if anything they are holding up what hopefully everyone wants, an acceptable police force for all.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that in the not too distant future Fermanagh will have partially-manned police stations in their villages, which are wanted and indeed coveted by their communities.

    2020 Belfast Telegraph Headline: “Foster demands small rural police stations must stay open as cuts bite.”

    The first step on this road, however, is to remove the vestiges of the police force’s previous role in the community as it should be consigned (gloriously/infamously take your pick according to position) to the past.

  • George

    Gav,
    perhaps I am being insensitive but how sensitive is Arlene if she thinks the majority of people in Fermanagh want these lumping big installations blighthing their beautiful county, costing buckets of money and adding nothing to the policing of the area. They don’t.

    I tell you one thing, if the good people of Fermanagh had to foot the bill to keep these things as part of a local tax they would all be gone by the end of the year with Arlene’s blessing.

    Arlene seems to forget that it is no longer the job of the police in Northern Ireland to ensure this little part of Ireland in which she lives remains part of the British realm forever and ever.

    Under the new political dispensation on this island, agreed by the people of this island, NI will remain British as long as a majority so wish. If and when they don’t, it won’t. Simple as that.

    These installations are part of the police force’s military past (justified past or not is irrelevant in deciding the future of the 17 stations) and as they serve as daily reminders of NI’s past, if anything they are holding up what hopefully everyone wants, a bright future with an acceptable police force for all.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that in the not too distant future Fermanagh will have small, partially- or sparsely-manned police stations in their villages, which are wanted and indeed jealously protected by their communities.

    Possible Belfast Telegraph Headline in the year 2020: “Foster demands small rural police stations must stay open as cuts bite.”

    The first step on this road, however, is to remove the vestiges of the police force’s previous role in the community as it should be consigned (gloriously/infamously take your pick according to position) to the past.

  • Roger

    I think it is a disgrace that the PSNI seem to spend most of their time out prosecuting people whom may be going 36mph in a 30mph zone, they are devoid of catching the reckless drivers and as to other crimes in NI their success is a very mixed bag indeed.

  • GavBelfast

    George, I thought you were being sensitive, as in precious (unless you were joking).

    Anyway I think there’s a lot in what you said, and sure it was such a good piece it was well worth posting seven or eight times.

    😉

  • George

    Gav,
    apologies for that, very embarrassing. Not only am I insensitive, I have a terrible habit of repeating myself…..