DROMORE Police Station has been granted a stay of execution but, with the PSNI still intent on its closure, campaigners are warning that while the battle may be won, the war goes on, potentially for the next three years.
Dromore is one of four stations, including nearby Hillsborough, in respect of which police have agreed to undertake “further engagement”, in transition, they say, to a closure date in the current Comprehensive Spending Review period, which ends on April 1 2015.
What that means in practice, according to Lagan Valley MLA and Policing Board member Jonathan Craig, is setting up a “task force” involving the new Policing Safety Community Partnership and the District Commander, Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson, “to engage directly with the local residents to address community confidence on the potential future use of the police station”.
Mr. Craig was among those to offer a somewhat muted welcome to news of Dromore’s immediate reprieve as it emerged following last week’s meeting of the Policing Board, at which police presented their formal proposal to close the station.
He praised the community for its defence of Dromore Police Station and pledged to continue lobbying for the long-term future of the base.
Meanwhile, Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale said there were clearly those “high up in the Police Service”, who were determined to push through the closure of Dromore Police Station.
“We must continue to argue for its retention,” she said, “pointing out what a detrimental effect there would be on local community confidence in Policing.”
And Dromore Councillor Olive Mercer likewise welcomed the station’s reprieve.
She thanked everyone who attended the public consultation meetings and/or signed the petitions in protest at the closure plans.