Proposals to move the PSNI Road Policing Unit out of Fermanagh are a worrying development.

The county’s uneviable number of road fatalities bears witness to the continuing and very real issue of road safety here in Fermanagh. This area has suffered more than its fair share of road tragedy.

A wife who lost her husband to a road accident when she was expecting their third child has bravely spoken out about the importance, as she sees it, of having police personnel on the ground.

Rightly, there is concern about the loss of this type of policing unit from Fermanagh, with the impact of the loss of dedicated road policing officers who have experience and expertise in this particular locality.

Those who know about the issue -- a retired police inspector who was the PSNI’s lead senior investigating officer for road deaths -- has expressed his concerns about the impact on public safety.

This area has the highest number of fatalities to year date and last year had the second highest number of fatalities. In it 2013 had the highest number of fatalities.

He says that Fermanagh has always had a high level of fatalities and it could be argued that those figures could have been higher if there had been no dedicated road traffic unit.

On the ground officers act as a deterrent. Drivers are less likely to speed, drink and drive or take risks if they know there is a good chance of them being detected by police and potentially brought before the courts. They also have a role in educating people and getting across vital road safety messages.

Fermanagh already suffers badly from lack of investment in the road infractrauture and being a rural county there are many winding country roads.

This proposal is a step too far.