Councillor Brian Wilson condemns the decision by North Down Borough Council to press for a meeting with Chief Constable to oppose the proposed closure of Holywood Police Station
I believe that the campaign to retain Holywood Police Station is an irrational and ill-informed attempt to create public fears where none exist. North Down Borough Council should play no part in it. I must disagree with Alderman Dunne’s assertion that the closure of Holywood Police Station would have a devastating impact on the town and that the residents were alarmed that this would lead to a crime wave in the borough.
I discussed the proposed closure of Holywood Police Station with some Holywood residents and they were not the least concerned one even pointed out that no one ever used the station. I believe that the future of Holywood station must be an operational matter for the PSNI and North Down council should not get involved. The PSNI’s role is to provide an effective and efficient service and if they believe that the closure of Holywood Police Station will achieve this they have my full support.
Instead of this knee jerk reaction we should consider what service does the station provide at present? Members of the public rarely visit the office and if there is an incident in Holywood Town Centre any response would come from the local mobile patrol car directed from Bangor as the officers based in the station are unable to leave the premises. I believe a more efficient police service could be provided by a two man patrol car rather than two officers stuck in Holywood police station. To retain the station which is rarely used would seem to be a wasteful use of resources.
A few years ago North Down council organised a similar campaign to oppose the reduction of opening hours at Holywood Police Station. We were told it would have disastrous consequences and the people of Holywood were terrified that they would be left unprotected against terrorists, muggers, burglars and drunken cyclists.
As the local MLA I had no evidence of such concerns as not a single constituent contacted me on this matter. When the hours were finally reduced at Holywood Police Station these alleged fears were found to be groundless and the council’s campaign to be a waste of ratepayer’s money and resources.
I believe that the campaign to retain Holywood police station is another irrational and ill-informed attempt to create public fears where none exist. North Down council should play no part in it.