POLICE chiefs are turning their backs on the people of Dromore, according to a resident who says moves to close the local station are a sign that polcing itself is going “backwards”.
The man, who did not want to be named, also condemned the recent public consultation exercise in respect of closure plans, describing it as “a sham” and “a paper exercise”.
He said,“The Dromore community has always supported the police, through the dark days of the Troubles and beyond, and now police chiefs are turning their backs on the people of Dromore.”Drawing on personal experience, he added, “Policing seems to be going backwards; years ago a Police Constable would know everyone on their beat, but now young officers are sent out in rural areas they aren’t used to. “Recently I had to direct two young police officers to a small rural road; in the case of a 999 call-out this time delay could cost lives if police didn’t arrive on time or couldn’t find certain roads quickly.” The man said more police were needed on the beat, officers the public knew and trusted, and they had to be based in the community they served.
Calling for Dromore Police Station to be retained, he said too it should be opened up for ease of public access and could be shared with other agencies, groups and even charities to help meet costs.
Harbouring concerns over response times and refusing to be won over by arguments on the changing face of policing, he went on, “Look at how many police stations have been closed, including Dromara Police station. These police stations must have been built to establish the proper policing ratio to cover the rural areas and fight crime.
“Crime has not ‘retired’ but police chiefs seem to ignore this because it doesn’t add up when looking at their figures.”
If the existing Dromore Police Station was to close, he said, then at the very least police should open another, smaller, station as a base for local officers and a means of public access.
“I would ask (E District Commander) Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson to change his mind or move Dromore Police to a smaller/shared station, so the people of Dromore have at least a small police presence in the town,” he said.