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PSNI unveils new `LPT' policing teams

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin Picture: Hugh Russell

The PSNI today launches the first of its new 'local policing teams'.

As part of a phased plan that will see 26 LPTs rolled out, the first two will begin work in Armagh city, Banbridge and Craigavon district – based in Lurgan and Armagh police stations.

They will be supported by neighbourhood policing teams (NPTs) and be “mobile and deployed to areas to deal with critical issues... their focus will remain on protecting people, preventing crime and detecting offenders”, according to a statement.

The teams are part of a broader restructuring within the PSNI after policing districts in the north were reduced to tie in with the new `super council' areas.

“April marked the beginning of the biggest transformation that policing in Northern Ireland has faced in recent years, as a result of aligning with new council structures; combined with significant budget pressures when we moved from 11 policing districts to seven,” said Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Stephen Martin.

“We looked at ways the PSNI could continue to deliver on its priority of keeping people safe in the face of ongoing budget cuts and decreasing resources.”

He said that there would be 26 LPTs across Northern Ireland by October 1 and hinted that more police stations might have to close as officers increasingly engage with the public online.

Individual officers in the local teams will have "geographic ownership of a particular area".

"They will be expected to develop an in-depth local knowledge of the area and engage with civic leaders, clergy and community groups to understand the needs of that community and how best to keep people safe,” said ACC Martin.

The next LPT scheduled to `go live' is Belfast at the beginning of September.

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