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Sale of Castlederg and Aughnacloy stations put on hold

Castlederg PSNI Station.

THE sale of two disused police stations in Co Tyrone have been put on hold amid the uncertainty over the future of the border post-Brexit.

Castlederg and Aughnacloy stations were earmarked for closure in December 2016 as part of plans to cut costs.

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But speaking at the Police Federation for Northern Ireland’s annual conference on Thursday, Chief Constable George Hamilton revealed that the PSNI are currently drawing up a business case on how it will police the border after Brexit.

It’s understood that as well as calling for a Government fund to provide at least 300 additional officers, the plan to sell the former stations in Aughnacloy and Castlederg has been put on ice.

It’s believed that both sites could have key customs or security roles once the UK leaves the EU.

Speaking at last week’s conference the chair of the Police Federation, Mark Lindsay, claimed four major police stations will be needed in border areas to address security issues after Brexit.

Announcing that “budgets are reducing”, he called for an immediate increase in funding for the PSNI and an immediate commitment to recruiting more officers.

“We find ourselves almost 500 fewer than what the Chief Constable said he needed to effectively police Northern Ireland. This is purely down to slashing budgets.

“The days of finding significant savings are over and we are now seeing reduced numbers as a direct consequence of budget cuts.”

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The reason for selling off both Aughnacloy and Castlederg stations have been largely budget related.

This newspaper previously revealed that Castlederg station costs £175,000 a year in rates and maintenance costs.

However the sale has divided opinion between nationalists and unionists. While unionists expressed their concerns over the closure and sale of Castlederg PSNI station, Sinn Féin welcomed it.

The stations had been under the control of the Policing Board, but last year Derry and Strabane District Council held a public consultation exercise to develop options for the future use of the Castlederg site.

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