Police to build six new stations

The aim is to make police stations less forbidding

The police service in Northern Ireland has announced that it is planning to build six new police stations.

They will be located in Ballymoney, Cookstown, Craigavon, Downpatrick and Omagh, as well as Musgrave Street in Belfast city centre.

The stations form part of the police service's estate strategy for the next five years.

Police said the extensive station improvement and maintenance programme would cost about £200m.

No final decisions

The aim is to deliver on the requirement of the Patten report that police buildings should be less forbidding, more user-friendly for the general public and more congenial for officers and support staff to work in.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton said that the strategy would involve a review of the number and viability of police stations.

This would lead inevitably to recommendations on station closures, he said.

However, he stressed that no final decisions had been taken on the 61 stations on the strategy's review list.

He gave the assurance that where closure recommendations were made, local commanders would embark on a process of consultation with their communities on proposals and on the best way to deliver services locally.

Fit for purpose

There are 135 police stations and 56 other police establishments, including headquarters locations and training units.

Thirteen stations are more than 100 years old and 54 are more than 50 years old.

Meanwhile, police in west Belfast have announced that Andersonstown police station will be demolished in mid-February.

The station will close permanently on Sunday.

Police said Andersonstown police station, established in 1887, was no longer fit for purpose.

Grosvenor Road, Woodbourne and New Barnsley police stations will continue to provide a full policing service to the people of west Belfast, police said.

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