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PSNI District Commander speaks to press about upcoming changes to local policing.

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The PSNI’s District Commander for Causeway Coast and Glens, Superintendent John Magill sat down with local media yesterday (24th September) to discuss the upcoming changes to local policing.

The PSNI has been going under a major restructuring operation since March of this year, one of the most notable changes is to that of the Policing Districts, which were re-drawn to match the boundaries of the new Council areas.

New Local Policing Teams will be launched next Monday (28th September) alongside new Neighbourhood Policing Teams, the Local Policing Teams will be based in Coleraine and Limavady, providing a 24 hour street presence. They will deal mainly with calls to service within as well focussing on solving problems in their respective areas and working closely with members of the community.

The Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be based in Coleraine & Ballycastle and will be deployed in areas of “high concern”. These officers will be allowed to operate across the entire district.

Superintendent Magill assured those present that he is completely satisfied with the number of Officers operating in the Causeway Coast and Glens District.

When asked about the main drivers for this change in local policing, Supt. Magill stated that it was money, as the PSNI have seen their budget cut by between £40m – £60m pounds this year.

Magill explained that administering the cuts has proved to be a hard task, stating that 80% of the PSNI’s budget is spent on paying the Salaries and Pensions of PSNI Officers, and the remaining 20% is spent on the likes of maintaining property and other services.

Continuing to outline the work of the Police, Magill mentioned that the PSNI works closely with a number of bodies such as the Community Rescue Service, Mountain Rescue, the Health and Social Care Trust, as well as the council. Magill highlighted a number of issues in which they were working closely with the council, one of the most prevalent being the issue of anti-social motoring throughout the district.

When asked about the closure of Police Stations, he stated that there are no plans to close any Police station within the district, but stressed that the absence of a police station in an area does not mean an absence of Police and would have no negative impact on the number of Police in an area.

As the briefing came to a close, the Superintendent welcomed the support of the community in dealing with the ever-present drugs problem and stressed that the Police are still working to tackle the problem of paramilitary violence in North Antrim, calling their brutality “unacceptable.”

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