Police feeling stetched:Frew

POLICE in Ballymena and the surrounding borough are feeling "stretched" according to local MLA Paul Frew.

At last Thursday's meeting of the DPP held in Kells, Councillor Frew raised concerns about Broughshane and Portglenone having only three full-time constables.

This information was revealed in a police response to a question put forward by the MLA.

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He said:"It is clear that the service is very reliant on neighbourhood officers and it is disappointing that there is only three full-time constables for the Bann and Braid.

"Police officers have told me that they are stretched and I know it's the truth. When you add the cuts and the terrorist threat police are facing, where does that leave us in Ballymena?"

Councillor Frew added that residents in rural areas are concerned about police response to calls.

Area Commander Ryan Henderson said: "I am sorry to hear somebody is reflecting that out there, it is unacceptable.

"Rural areas that would have less crime will ultimately have less officers.

"However most people want to know that if they need the police for whatever reason, they will respond."

Frew had asked police how the current compliment of officers for Borough compare to the compliment five years ago, however he said he was disappointed with lack of comparison provided.

Commander Henderson advised that the area was very different to five years ago which meant a comparison couldn't be made, he added: "Five years ago Ballymena was different, it had it's own district and had police officers who weren't near the front line. These officers also weren't seen by the public."