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PSNI stations reopen after COVID-19 outbreak among 60 officers

Two police stations have been re-opened after deep cleaning following officers testing positive for COVID-19.

Two police stations in Northern Ireland have resumed service after officers tested positive for COVID-19.

The force confirmed the two stations in Antrim and Newtownabbey are now operating again after eight officers tested positive for the virus. That number swiftly increased to 60 and contingency plans had to be enacted to cover the shortfall.

The area has registered an increase in COVID-19 cases and health officials are monitoring the numbers in case further lockdown restrictions have to be introduced.

DUP South Antrim MLA and Policing Board representative Trevor Clarke revealed he had written to the Chief Constable asking for reassurances that community policing would not be affected.

Mr Clarke said: “In these unprecedented times our sincere thanks go out to local police officers and police staff who have been on the frontline of efforts to keep our communities and citizens safe from harm.

“These developments should serve as a timely reminder of personal sacrifice by many of our emergency service personnel working to provide vital and uninterrupted services to the public during this pandemic.”

But the PSNI said the two stations had been thoroughly cleaned and were now operating normally. The officers involved were also beginning to return to duty.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “In line with public health guidance, we have ensured that appropriate steps were immediately taken to address and manage the issue.

“The health and welfare of members of the public attending our stations and those of our officers and staff are of paramount importance and we have commenced a phased return to duty for officers based in those stations as it is now assessed that it is safe to do so.”

He added that the force had enough capability to police the areas covered by the two stations: “Once again, I would like to reassure the public that plans remain in place across the district to provide a service to the community and keep people safe.”

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