PSNI: Sale of three border police stations stopped amid Brexit security fears
THE PSNI has confirmed speculation that it halted the sale of three border police stations in Co Tyrone and Co Down for border security after Brexit.
The sale of disused stations in Warrenpoint, Aughnacloy and Castlederg was stopped, with speculation that they may be put back into operational use for border policing purposes.
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin confirmed last night that: "In light of the UK referendum vote to leave the EU, we are reviewing decisions we previously made about some of our stations identified for disposal.
"Accordingly, it is our intention to pause the disposal of three stations in border areas, namely Warrenpoint, Castlederg and Aughnacloy.
"As the PSNI has not yet received details regarding potential border arrangements, this is a precautionary step to ensure that, whatever Brexit looks like in the future, we will be able to continue to keep our communities safe."
Newry, Mourne and Down Council had expressed an interest in buying the former station in Warrenpoint, which went on the market in 2016, with plans to turn it into a community centre.
Chief Constable George Hamilton said last week he would be asking for additional funds to recruitment up to 400 additional officers for operations along the border after Brexit.
In the absence of a Brexit deal customs officials may have to carry out the checks and will be protected by the PSNI. UK Border Force, which deals with immigration and customs checks, is also advertising for around 1000 new staff.
SDLP Brexit Spokesperson Claire Hanna MLA has said that the development "suggests that the possibility of an open border is decreasing, and that is unacceptable".
"The British Government continually say that there will be no hard border in Ireland but they have failed time and time again to put a comprehensive plan on the table and this is the outcome of that indecisiveness.
“Any hardening of the border would be a deliberate violation of our political process by the British Government," she added.