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Aughnacloy Police Station reprieve

AUGHNACLOY Police Station could be reopened again, it has been revealed. 

At least four PSNI stations will be needed in border areas to cope with a post-Brexit terror threat, according to the Chairman of the Police Federation, Mark Lindsay.

It is understood the Police have delayed plans to sell disused stations in Aughnacloy and Castlederg, as they may have a future customs or security role.

It has emerged that the PSNI are to ask the Government to fund recruitment of at least 300 officers for operations along the border after Brexit.

Mr Lindsay expressed his concern that the introduction of a tangible border following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, will result in a stretch of a force which is already 500 officers short of what the Chief Constable said was required to effectively police Northern Ireland.

“We’re running too light on the ground as it is, so to redeploy whatever numbers are needed along the border will leave already stretched resources even more stretched in towns and cities across Northern Ireland,” Mr Lindsay said.

Mr Lindsay said that decommissioned stations must be reopened to protect the post-Brexit border and he warned that the 6,621-strong force was not adequately staffed to enforce even a soft frontier.

“If we’re expecting more officers to be deployed along the border area, they need places where they can operate from,” he added.

“We’ve already seen Warrenpoint Police Station closure being halted, which makes a lot of sense given that it will be a port and it’s right on the border with the EU.

“I would anticipate that stations previously earmarked for closure will now need to be retained. We need at least four,” he said. 

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “The PSNI has a responsibility to keep people safe and we constantly review our resources to ensure that we are best equipped to do this.

“In light of the UK Referendum vote to leave the EU, we are reviewing decisions we previously made about some of our stations identified for disposal. Accordingly, it is our intention to pause the disposal of three stations in border areas, namely Warrenpoint, Castlederg and Aughnacloy.

“As the PSNI has not yet received details regarding potential border arrangements, this is a precautionary step to ensure that, whatever Brexit looks like in the future, we will be able to continue to keep our communities safe.”

Fermanagh and South Tyrone Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton has welcomed the decision taken by the PSNI to pause the sale of Aughnacloy Police Station.

Mrs Barton said: "I welcome this move to retain Aughnacloy Police Station for the time being until the post-Brexit border solution is finalised.

“I do hope the PSNI will reconsider the sales of other border stations across Northern Ireland.

“Since Sinn Fein collapsed the Northern Ireland Assembly over a year ago, the PSNI have been hit with budget reductions. Police resources have been negatively impacted as a result, with stations closing across the country.

“At a time when dissident republican activity is ongoing, one would hope for a Police Service with an adequate number of officers and resources. It is unfortunate that this is not the case. It is vital that an Executive is formed, so that the PSNI can receive an appropriate budget to boost their resources particularly in border areas like Aughnacloy.”

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