Public fears over Yunlin County’s security ‘blind spot’

RELOCATION DELAYS::Amid growing concern over the dilapidated state of the police station in Taisi Precinct, residents are still awaiting the opening of a new station

By Chen Tsan-kun, Huang Shu-li and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 - Page 5

Yunlin County’s Sihhu Township (四湖) could become a security blind spot, as the ownership of the plot of land on which Taisi Precinct’s Feisha (飛沙) police station sits has changed hands, while the opening of a new station building is still pending an acceptance inspection.

The 40-year-old building in which the police station currently resides is in a serious state of disrepair, with pieces of concrete often seen falling from its exterior walls.

At the time of its construction authorities had only received verbal approval from the landowner to use the property, rather than making an official acquisition as is required by law.

After the landowner expressed his wish to reclaim the land a few years ago, the Sihhu Township Office provided a piece of public land for the building of a new station.

However, there are no signs of the police station being relocated to the new site. Construction was completed on June 29, and the land on which the original building stands was recently sold to a new owner.

The police station’s delayed relocation has raised concerns among local residents, with some fearing that the area could turn into a security blind spot, while others fear the seemingly dilapidated building could collapse.

“The station’s current building is neither legal nor secure, with pieces of concrete occasionally falling from the eaves. What if villagers who seek assistance at the station are hit by a lump of concrete?” a local resident said.

The resident also mentioned the many cracks in the exterior of the building, saying that police officers could be hurt in the event of an earthquake.

Some villagers also raised concerns over the isolated location of the new office, which is surrounded by rice paddies, saying that if the office was left vacant for too long it could become a gathering place for the homeless and young gangsters, leading to further public security problems.

In response to growing public anxiety, the Yunlin County Police Department said that the police station’s new office only received a building-use license very recently, and still requires completion of some plumbing and electricity work and an acceptance inspection.

“We will wrap up relevant preparatory works as soon as possible and relocate by the end of this year,” the department said.