MLA seeks support for online petition

Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart.
Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart.

Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart has launched an online petition calling for the retention of the enquiry desk at Carrick Police Station.

Last week, the PSNI announced that the facility was to close permanentlyto the public from April 3.

Mr. Stewart has also written to the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton and to the Policing Board urging them to reconsider this decision.

The enquiry office at PSNI Carrickfergus currently operates on a part-time base and the station is a base for the Neighbourhood Policing Team. The Local Policing Team is located in Larne Police Station 12 miles away.

Services available at station enquiry offices include administration activities such as producing driving documents, paying warrant fines, foreign students registration or signing bail.

Mr. Stewart said: “The decision has been taken on the back of sustained reductions in service in recent years.

“The justification for the closure has been both financial and practical.

“The PSNI argue that the public are using new methods of reporting crimes and interacting with officers.

“While this may be so, it is my strong opinion that a town the size of Carrickfergus (including Greenisland and Whitehead), with a population of over 40,000 people, needs a functioning police station.

“While some habits may be changing, there can be no substitute for face to face interaction with the public.

“The big fear is that this closure to the public will also ultimately lead to the complete closure of the station as a police response base. In the interests of public confidence and safety, this would be extremely concerning.”