A new style of policing will come into force across Mid & East Antrim from Monday when a dramatic reorganisation of PSNI teams will ‘go live’.
Speaking to The Times in Ballymena on Thursday, Superintendent Ryan Henderson, Commander of ‘K District’ which takes in Ballymena, Carrick and Larne, described the changes to policing as ‘the most significant in a decade’ and explained they were driven by the restructuring of council areas under the Review of Public Administration and also budget cuts.
From September 14, the old ‘response teams’ will disappear with the creation of two new Neighbourhood Policing Teams - one to be based in Ballymena and the other in Larne/Carrick - which the Superintendent said will be placed “in areas of highest need...to get the biggest bang for their buck”.
In Ballymena, these areas will be Dunclug, Ballykeel, Doury Road and Rectory Estates; Sunnylands and Castlemara in Carrickfergus; and Craigyhill in Larne.
Their aim, he stated, would be “to work in communities with partners to resolve long term issues”.
The changes will also see the creation of Local Policing Teams (LPT), based in Ballymena and Larne, providing 24/7 policing for the district.
Superintendent Henderson said that while the Ballymena LPT will cover an area effectively taking in the old borough council boundary, the other will cover Larne and Carrick, re-establishing a 24/7 policing base in Larne.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have that presence back in Larne, it’s always remained a worry not to have that 24 hour a day coverage,” he said.
The District Commander underlined the new approach would be “collaborative” with LPTs supporting and co-operating with both NPTs and a specially appointed Community Planning Sergeant.
He said that while the overall focus of protecting people, preventing crime and detecting offenders would remain the same, residents across Mid & East Antrim or ‘K’ District could expect to notice a change.
“People will see a difference from day one as officers get themselves known and get themselves seen,” he said.
“They will see Local Police Team officers knocking on doors as they get to know communities.
“I think Mid & East Antrim does well out of the changes because we are getting enough people to get us a 24/7 base in Carrick and Larne. I think we are in a good place,” the Superintendent said.