CUTS TO policing in Erne North have come under criticism from a local MLA.
A PSNI spokesman confirmed that two of nine constables currently based in Kesh police station are to be ‘seconded to Enniskillen’.
At present, there is one sergeant and nine constables, however, the loss of two constables is something that UUP MLA Tom Elliott has described as a further blow to what was already a service ‘seriously understrength’.
The station, which covers areas including Belleek, Kesh, Ederney, Lack, Irvinestown, Ballinamallard, Killadeas and Trory has seen a massive reduction in the number of officers based in the station as of Monday past.
“I have been informed that the Kesh station will now have just one sergeant plus seven constables, compared to the end of last year, when we said the police numbers were seriously understrength with two sergeants and seventeen constables,” he said.
“This has serious implications for the wider public and the policing of the area. Less than two months ago I asked the local PSNI commander if he was being allocated any of the new recruits who would be passing out of training, his answer was less than convincing that the community in Fermanagh would benefit from any of the recruits.”
Mr Elliott added: “How a total of six police offices can cover such a huge geographical area as this would appear totally impossible.”
Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody said: “Two of these constables are currently being seconded to Enniskillen response sections on a three month rotational basis. Everyone is aware of the budgetary pressures that the police are facing. We have to do everything we can to live within our reduced means and still provide a service to the community. We are fully aware of the value of having local neighbourhood policing officers in areas such as Kesh and have maintained this capability across the district although having to review the number of officers in each area.”
He added: “It is inevitable over the coming months that we will have to find different ways of providing the policing service across the district but it will look different and will mean that we have to be more flexible about how we deploy our officers.
“I would ask that the public understand that there must be changes in the way that policing services are delivered and supports us in helping to find new ways of keeping them safe, preventing crime and detecting offenders.”
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