Local cop shops to be closed and sold off

By Scott Jamison

Two of South Belfast’s main police stations are believed to be earmarked for closure and their lands sold off as part of ongoing reductions by the Policing Board.

The South Belfast News has learned that the futures of Ballynafeigh and Donegall Pass stations were brought up in a private meeting of the Policing Board on Friday (November 11) in which the organisation’s estates strategy was discussed.

The stations would be two of 35 across Northern Ireland that are to be closed permanently and sold off within the next three years as a cost-cutting measure by the board. No final decision will be made on those that will close until the board’s monthly meeting in December.

The news comes as statistics show South Belfast has seen one of the highest rates of paramilitary activity in the current financial year, from April 1 to October 31, 2011.

The figures, which were revealed in the answer to a Freedom of Information request by this paper, show South Belfast ranks first across Northern Ireland in terms of ammunition rounds found, second for bombing incidents and bomb devices used and fourth for firearms found.

A Policing Board spokesperson said it could not comment further on possible closures until the estates strategy is considered by the board next month.

“Ensuring the police estate meets current and future policing requirements is a key priority for the board. As the owners of the police estate, the board needs to be satisfied the estate is being managed effectively and efficiently.

“Board members have asked for further information on a number of issues. The strategy, which covers the budget period to 2015, will now be considered by the board at its December meeting.”

Carryduff Police Station is also expected to be sold.

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