Objects > Photograph of Musgrave Street PSNI station


Photograph of Musgrave Street PSNI Station

Date: 2010s

Material: paper

Dimensions: ?

Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary

Source: Police Museum

Photograph of New Barnsley RUC Station

Date: 1990s

Material: paper

Dimensions: 17 x 10 cm

Organisation: PSNI

Source: Police Museum

A photograph of the modern Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) station at Musgrave Street, Belfast which replaced the armoured Victorian Royal Irish Constabulary barracks used by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Heavily fortified police stations were a legacy of the recent Troubles. Concrete, steel and wire were used to protect stations from terrorist attacks and even small rural stations were hidden behind high perimeter barricades. During the 1994-95 ceasefires, the RUC cautiously began the process of station normalisation; removing some fortifications and opening the gates during daylight hours.

The Independent Commission into Policing in Northern Ireland (Patten) report recommended that the PSNI should be a visible and accessible part of every neighbourhood and that stations should reflect this new community focus. Newly built police stations would have the appearance of ordinary buildings, visible behind low perimeter walls with unobtrusive security features that could be activated or reinforced.

The PSNI station normalisation programme took place between 2005 and 2008. This project involved making station buildings visible from the street and less forbidding in appearance. Police premises were redesigned to be more accessible and more congenial for occupants. Public receptions, staffed with civilians became more open and welcoming. Modern stations with meeting rooms for the local community were built at Downpatrick and Musgrave Street. In 2016, restrictions on PSNI budgets and a dissident Republican threat has seen the closure of a number of smaller rural premises, a reduction in opening hours and increased security precautions at station gates.