02/09/2002

PSNI confirm closure of Springfield Road Police Station

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has confirmed that their Springfield Road Station has closed as of midnight September 1 as it was "no longer viable to keep".

Formerly the Police Headquarters for West Belfast, the station was used until recently as a reporting station and as a base of the local community policing unit.

A spokesperson confirmed that Grosvenor Road and New Barnsley had become more accessible stations for the area.

Acting Superintendent Peter Farrar, Operations Manager, said that the closure would not have a negative impact on policing in the area and confirmed that officers would continue to carry out their duties from Grosvenor Road.

As the Police Headquarters for West Belfast, Springfield Road Station was witness to many acts of bravery and tragedy throughout the 'troubles', including the murder of Sergeant Michael Willets of the Parachute Regiment.

Sergeant Willets died on May 25, 1971, when a suitcase containing 30lbs of explosives was thrown into the enquiry office of the station.

Visiting the enquiry office at the time, were almost 30 members of the public were present, including two young children, Sergeant Willets thrust the children into a corner and shielded them. When the bomb exploded he took the full force of the blast saving the lives of two children, but he died of his injuries.

Sgt Willets was later posthumously awarded the George Cross.

(MB)

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