Mid Ulster councillors left in the dark over PSNI station cuts

Cookstown Police Station
Cookstown Police Station

Two Mid Ulster District councillors have hit out at the PSNI for taking decisions on local policing without either consulting or advising them.

Last month, police revealed a series of measures that will come into force when its districts merge in line with councils on April 1.

“It was extremely disappointing to learn of the cutbacks at Cookstown police station through the media.”

But, both Trevor Wilson from the UUP and Sinn Fein’s Cathal Mallaghan told the Mail that local councillors and Police and Community Safety Partnerships [PCSPs] only learned of the changes, when they read the Mail.

These included an end to the 24-hour service at Cookstown Police Station.

Mid Ulster Council chair, Cathal Mallaghan told the Mail: “Both Councillors and PCSP members were unaware of any reduced hours - there was no consultation or discussion locally.

Whilst Cllr Wilson said: “It was extremely disappointing to learn of the cutbacks at Cookstown police station through the media,” he told the Mail.

“While appreciating that police could not give more definitive [information on the] situation due to them not knowing the full extent, I still would have thought it would have been courtesy to inform the PCSP or indeed the council at least.”

Cllr Mallaghan also raised concerns over “a gap of a few months” when Cookstown PCSP disbands but Mid Ulster PCSP hasn’t begun - and “there is no local process to hold police to account”.

“It is important that during this transition, the existing PCSP action plan is adhered to,” he explained.

Supt. Mike Baird responded: “Cookstown station will continue to be one of our main stations, with both a local neighbourhood officer, operational support team and detectives being based there.

“We can be contacted 24 hours a day on either 101 or for emergencies on 999 [and] all normal policing will carry on.”