ALLIANCE South Belfast representative Geraldine Rice has accused the SDLP of “outrageous arrogance”, following that party’s suggestion that Carryduff PSNI Station should be closed.
Councillor Rice, who will be raising the issue with Acting Assistant Chief Constable Maggie Hunter in mid-February, said that many residents had attended public meetings with PSNI and made it clear they do not want the station closed completely.
Cllr Rice said: “This is an area of high growth and major housing development. In last five years the crime rate has grown by 400 percent while policing resources have dropped dramatically.”
“We are partially policed by Castlereagh, while Carryduff is only open part-time. A police car is stationed at Carryduff and access to the road to get to frequent accidents is important. The difficulty of getting a PSNI car from Castlereagh is that there is often a heavy volume of traffic slowing the emergency services.”
“The is also major concern about burglaries and car theft in Carryduff. The vast majority of people here are already not happy with the level of policing right now, and if it is reduced, many fear we will see an increase in crime.”
“For the SDLP to further suggest the disarming of the police at a time when loyalist violence is on the rise years is bordering on lunacy. One must question the motivation behind such proposals and I can only conclude that the SDLP are looking over their shoulders at their political rivals in Sinn Fein.”
Cllr Rice said that SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood’s recent comments, expressing his lack of concern that the 50-50 rule did not apply to part-time officers, was revealing.
Cllr Rice said: “The SDLP have let the cat out of the bag by this admission. If Alex Attwood is not concerned about the lack of a 50:50 quota for part-time officers, I challenge him to now join with me in calling for the abolition of the quota for regular officers, traffic wardens and civilian posts too.”
“Quotas are clearly not as important to the SDLP as they have said in the past. If Mr Attwood is serious about getting police numbers up to the level recommended by Patten, he must recognise the fact that rigid quotas are preventing, not helping, this from happening.”