Several major PSNI stations will escape a reduction in the number of security staff on duty following a rethink by the chief constable, a Ulster Unionist MLA has claimed.
Rosemary Barton said plans to have only one civilian security officer on duty at Enniskillen, Omagh, Dungannon and Cookstown – which were due to be implemented this week – have now been shelved.
Mrs Barton met with the chief constable George Hamilton after she expressed concern over the proposed new arrangement last month.
She said: “I was extremely critical of the plans to reduce the number of civilian security officers on duty at prominent PSNI stations to just one at all times. I’m pleased that those in authority have accepted a common-sense approach and agreed to rescind the decision.
“Following my request to the chief constable to reconsider I met with a senior officer to discuss the proposals and I welcome this positive outcome.”
In a statement on September 20, the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA described the prospect of having only one security guard covering a 12-hour shift as “ludicrous”.
She said: “I understand that the security staff levels at these stations has been reduced in the past, however the latest proposal to have just one officer at all times is reckless and from a security perspective is irresponsible.
“One person who must remain in the one security hut for a 12-hour shift at a time is ludicrous. The potential security implications are unthinkable, and the moral depression for staff I assume has not been considered.”
Mrs Barton added: “Given the reducing level of police resources, I understand the police numbers are almost 1,000 below what was recommended by the Patten proposals, the number of stations greatly reduced and public access to police greatly diminished it appears this is another penny pinching exercise, which will come at a serious security risk.”