Crossmaglen police station as cold war relic, according to PSNI police chief

The PSNI police chief described a police station in southern Armagh as reminiscent of the Cold War.

Simon Byrne spoke after announcing the findings of a report following a review of police services in South Armagh.

It includes a recommendation to close the heavily fortified police station at Crossmaglen.

The southern Armagh area was heavily militarized during the unrest in response to a high level of threat from the Provisional IRA.

However, the British Army watchtowers were scrapped in the 2000s following the Belfast Accord.

The recent review of policing in the region came after a photo of Mr Byrne with heavily armed officers outside the station in 2019 on Twitter sparked outrage.

This happened shortly after Mr Byrne took on the role of Police Chief in Northern Ireland.

“I visited twice in memory in 2019, and was quite surprised by the deep concrete walls, high fences and cameras,” he said.

“It looked like a relic of the Cold War, not to mention the unrest.

“And I think one of the constructive things that will come out of this review is our determination to build a new single-use facility that is more steel and glass and less concrete to serve the public in this part of Ireland. North.”

When asked if he regrets the tweet, Mr Byrne told the PA News Agency: ‘Sometimes I regret it because it has caused controversy which is still not welcome, but I also now wonder if I hadn’t, would we be here today? Because maybe some of the concerns and issues that weren’t seen because of poor leadership and a group thought frankly might not have been evident until it was too late.

“On something that has sparked concern and controversy, I think we have something constructive and good that we can build on for the future.”

Read more: PSNI lacks ‘credibility’ in South Armagh as report recommends abandoning assault rifles

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