PSNI: Bangor Public Enquiry Office Closure

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Alex Easton Alex Easton Independent 10:30, 16 April 2024

I want to raise the shocking closure of the Bangor PSNI public enquiry office. It is one of 17 such offices to close right across Northern Ireland. What is particularly worrying about that is that North Down has a population of over 162,000 people and will have only one police station, which is in Newtownards, that is open to the public. That means that Bangor residents will have to make a 10-mile trip to an actual station when they need to give in documents or report a crime.

In North Down, we have a huge problem. We have seen the closure of Donaghadee police station. Holywood police station is no longer open to the public, and now we will be left with just the station in Newtownards. It is a deeply worrying situation. All that is happening to save £400,000. In the scheme of things, £400,000 is not a huge amount of money to keep all those enquiry offices open, so I implore the Justice Minister to contact the Finance Minister and to raise the issue at the Executive, because it would be a disaster for policing right across Northern Ireland if we could not keep those enquiry offices open.

I am also deeply worried about recruitment to the PSNI. There are hundreds of vacant PSNI officer posts. If we do not do something, we will have a difficult time in the future with proper policing, because we will not have enough police officers or stations.