Police station office closure ‘will have adverse affect on town’

MLA Jonathan Buckley and MP David Simpson outside Edward Street police station. INPT12

MLA Jonathan Buckley and MP David Simpson outside Edward Street police station. INPT12

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The imminent closure of the enquiry office in Portadown’s Edward Street police station will mean the end of the station in the town centre, the DUP have claimed.

MLA Jonathan Buckley said the enquiry office is set to close on Monday, April 3.

The PSNI confirmed the closure of the enquiry office in a statement, but did not give a date, and said further statements will be issued on Monday.

They said the way the public interact with police has changed and advances in technology have made it possible for police to deliver “new ways of contact and engagement”.

They added, “In light of this, and with consideration of best and most cost effective use of police resources, police have conducted a review of station enquiry office provision.

“Edward Street Station has not been an operational police station for some time. Operational policing in Portadown is delivered from Mahon Road. The Edward Street Station has been earmarked for closure for a number of years.

“While the closure of the enquiry office at Edward Street may cause some inconvenience, the public can still contact police 24/7 by phoning 101 and 999 in an emergency. The public can also visit enquiry offices in Lurgan, Banbridge or Armagh, can avail of information and online crime reporting on PSNI website and can find out about local policing and engage with local officers on PSNI social media sites.”

However, DUP representatives Jonathan Buckley MLA and David Simpson MP have jointly hit out at the closure of the office.

Mr Buckley said, “This will have an adverse affect on Portadown as the last remaining service in the Edward Street station will now finish, meaning closure of the station.

“To have a presence in a town the size of Portadown is very important, especially when it comes to reporting crimes. Protection and providing a police service for the community is vitally important. It is very disappointing that this action has been taken.

“The enquiry office allowed the chance for local people to easily access the PSNI, who had a visible presence in Portadown. It is important that we continue to try and fight for these vital services in our towns.”

Mr Simpson added, “Edward Street is now left without an operational police station. For many years there have been efforts to try and find a favourable outcome, after the station was approved for closure and disposal by the NIPB in 2009.

“These offices offered services beyond reporting crime including producing driving documents and paying warrant fines. Now the nearest station will be either seven miles away in Lurgan or 11 miles away in Armagh. Continuing to strip away services like this will have a devastating impact on our towns and villages.

“There is a real case to retain the enquiry office in Portadown and I, along with my DUP colleagues, will be making that case in the hope of a solution.”