Banbridge set to lose community policing team

Celebrity TV Presenter Donna Air and David Simpson MP show their support for the Care2Save website that raises money for hospice and palliative care in the UK.
Celebrity TV Presenter Donna Air and David Simpson MP show their support for the Care2Save website that raises money for hospice and palliative care in the UK.

Proposals to relocate the local community policing team to Lurgan, leaving Banbridge without community police on the ground or located in the current police station, have outraged local MP David Simpson.

The move has come under what has been described as the ‘biggest shake-up to policing in Northern Ireland in years’, and was brought about as a result of significant budget pressures combined with a requirement to align with new council structures by April 1.

In a statement at the end of January announcing the restructuring, the PSNI warned of the likelihood of a reduction in the number of neighbourhood policing teams.

Mr Simpson has slated the proposal and said he will be fighting this battle and demanding answers and assurances on the level of policing still available to the Banbridge area.

“Whilst I fully recognise the financial difficulties being felt within our police service, it is critically important that the town of Banbridge is not stripped of its very effective neighbourhood policing team,” said Mr Simpson.

“It is a widely known problem that Banbridge has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths across our province, and the withdrawal of our neighbourhood policing team will have a detrimental effect on how we combat this.

“Over the weekend I have already raised concerns with the local PSNI personnel and members of the Policing Board about the concerns of Banbridge people.”