NI's Most Fortified Police Stations Should Close

The most fortified police stations in Northern Ireland should close, a review into policing in South Armagh has recommended.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne will meet today today, Tuesday 31 August, with representatives of the local community in South Armagh to discuss the findings of a comprehensive report into policing in the local area.

The wide-ranging review into local policing was initiated by the Chief Constable in January 2020. An extensive community consultation process and detailed operational analysis was undertaken between February 2020 - October 2020.

The Review sought to assess the style, tone and accessibility of local policing and whether it was appropriately aligned to community expectations and needs. The findings are detailed in a 169-page report, which makes 50 recommendations for change.

The findings and recommendations focus on six core areas, including; confidence and legitimacy, organisational culture, image and identity, engagement, leadership and accountability and integrity.

The Chief Constable presented the findings and recommendations, alongside the local policing leadership, at a meeting of local community and elected representatives in South Armagh in line with COVID-19 public health regulations and guidance.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: "The purpose of this extensive review was to listen to the needs, concerns and priorities of local people in South Armagh in relation to the policing arrangements in their community and to understand their aspirations and ambitions for change.

"Some of these findings make for challenging reading. They reflect that we have not made the progress in South Armagh that we have in other areas and that our approach to policing does not currently reflect the needs and priorities of the local community. However, I hope that this Review demonstrates that we acknowledge and care that we have not been meeting the standards local people expect of us, we have listened and that we are ready to act on the opportunity for change.

"Working closely with the local policing leadership, the Deputy Chief Constable will oversee implementation of the recommendations and a lot of work is already underway by local officers to make progress against these findings.

"But, this Review doesn't mark the end of our engagement with the local community, rather the beginning. Working together, I am confident we can build on the positive engagement undertaken through this Review to realise our shared ambition for a visible, accessible, responsive and community-focused local police service."

Local District Commander, Superintendent Norman Haslett, said: "Key to this was the in-depth consultation that took place through wide-ranging community surveys and interviews. I want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in the Review their commitment, honest input and for their enthusiasm for working together bring about meaningful change. Over the coming months, our local leadership team and officers look forward to working together with the local community to deliver meaningful, progressive change through these recommendations."

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