Police Enquiry Offices Closure: Dungannon and Lisnaskea

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:45 am on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Tom Elliott Tom Elliott UUP 10:45, 16 April 2024

I am disappointed that Timmy Mallett did not invite me to meet him, but I will probably get over it.

I bring to Members' attention the closure of two police enquiry offices in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. The first is in Dungannon town, which is an extremely busy enquiry office. I cannot for the life of me understand why the plan is to close it. The second is in Lisnaskea in Fermanagh, which serves a huge rural area of south and east Fermanagh. People from Rosslea, Newtownbutler and Derrylin will have to plan significantly and travel a considerable distance to get to Enniskillen enquiry office, which is not open all of the time.

The decision is a huge drawback for the police and a huge blow to public confidence in policing. It is clearly a financial issue; there are letters that state that it is a financial decision. As well as being a blow to public confidence in the police, it is a blow to police officers, who feel a sense of, almost, disloyalty from their own organisation. They will not be able to provide that public-facing service to people in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

The decision will leave one enquiry office in the large area of Fermanagh and South Tyrone, in Enniskillen. That is a huge drawback. I note that the police have indicated that the closures will take place. There will be no consultation on it. I am surprised that there will not be even a reasonable discussion with public representatives, the wider public and police officers about why the enquiry offices in those stations have been earmarked for closure.