A proposal to remove the only remaining police Tactical Support Group (TSG) in Fermanagh amounts to the PSNI “deserting” the county, Tom Elliott has said.
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MP was commenting following a meeting with senior officers at PSNI headquarters.
Mr Elliott said the new recommendations would reduce the number of units from 15 to 13 – relocating the Lisnaskea-based officers to a site deemed more appropriate by police chiefs.
“There is no reason why a regional service such as the TSG should not be based in Fermanagh.
“The TSG based in Lisnaskea provides a notable presence in the county, especially in south-east Fermanagh where there is significant dissident activity.
“The PSNI seem to be happy to send out a message of desertion to the people of Co Fermanagh,” he said.
TSGs are mainly involved in public order and search duties.
Mr Elliott added: “I will keep pushing the PSNI to reverse their proposal in order to keep this Tactical Support Group in the county.”
In a joint statement, assistant chief constables Stephen Martin and Alan Todd said they appreciate people may feel anxious, but said “significant budget pressures” were influencing decisions.
It added: “The TSG is a specialist unit under the command of our central Operational Support Department and not part of the local district policing establishment.
“Whilst TSG units are accommodated at locations across Northern Ireland, their remit is not local but countrywide and they are routinely deployed to different parts of the Province on a daily basis.
“The reality is that policing is changing, but our policing purpose remains the same – keeping people safe is still our main priority and we will continue to do this by preventing harm, protecting the vulnerable and detecting offenders.”