PSNI rejects call for new Strabane station.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

PSNI rejects call for new Strabane station. thumbnail Calls have been made for the replacement of the current Strabane Police Station

THE PSNI has rejected calls for a new police station in Strabane amid claims that its "unwelcoming" facade is not benefitting relations between police and the community, but has confirmed that work has been undertaken in recent months to help reduce its visual impact.

West Tyrone SDLP MLA., Daniel McCrossan, had written to PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton, pressing for a new build citing modern bases such as that in neighbouring Omagh where the mulit-million pound station opened in 2010.

Describing the current military fašade as "unwelcoming and antagonistic", Mr McCrossan said it is "off-putting" for people.

Responding, Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Alan Todd, who is responsible for district policing, said that the "high security threat" means that Strabane is unlikely to see new build or a significant overhaul to the current station in the immediate future.

He said: "Ideally we would like to see softer perimeters and buildings...The simple fact that the station looks as it currently does is because of the current high security threat and the subsequent operational need in Strabane.

"We have been carrying out some works recently to replace perimeter fencing which has deteriorated in places.

"Efforts have been made to reduce the impact of the new fencing which will be lower in places and of one colour. Protective cages on sangars at the rear of the site have been removed at the request of neighbours."

ACC Todd added that there is plans for refurbishment works at the Bowling Green site but that "there is no justification" for replacing the station in its entirety.

"An ongoing province-wide programme of rationalisation will, in the future, remove Strabane's underutilised buildings and a planned internal refurbishment project will serve the changing operational needs of the officers and staff stationed in there.

"The existing police station assets have been reviewed and, as they have not reached the end of their life, there is no justification, or long term plan, to replace the entire station.

"In any proposed replacement scheme Strabane would be competing with other stations where there is a greater need and, in any case, this is under the shadow of severe limitations on funding.

"Strabane station is fit-for-purpose for the current operational need and foreseeable future.

Should the security threat subside, we will be able to further review the measures in place to counter that and improve the outward appearance of the station," he said.

Reacting to the comments, Mr McCrossan said he was disappointed. The SDLP MLA said: "I understand that there are security concerns but that can be said for many towns across the North, including Omagh which has a new, welcoming and open police station whereas Strabane is left with a relic from the past," he said.

"This is off-putting for many people especially those who are visiting the station to give statements or to report crimes.

"This is actually counter intuitive to all the initiatives the PSNI have to engage more with local communities."

The local MLA said he would continue to press the issue, adding: "Many local people have contacted me in the past few weeks to tell me of their concerns about the state of the town and some of its buildings.

"I have to agree when you look at our health centre or even the weeds and trees growing out of buildings. This cannot be acceptable.

"People in the town deserve much more and over the next few months I will be continuing my lobbying efforts for change. Part of that still involves a new police station for the town."


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete