Northern Ireland news

£1m safety centre set to close as PSNI stops funding

The £1m centre has a life sized model street, with bus and train stops, a court house and a police station. William Cherry / Press Eye
Áine Quinn

A £1m safety centre is set to close as the PSNI has announced that they cannot afford to fund it any longer.

The Risk Awareness and Danger Avoidance Responsibility (RADAR) unit, which opened in 2015, is used to teach children and young people about road, fire, home and transport safety.

The BBC has reported that the RADAR centre, which is based in Sydenham Harbour in Belfast, costs £500,000 a year to run and the PSNI is its biggest funder.

However, the centre which has a life sized model street, with bus and train stops, a court house and a police station will close its doors at the end of the financial year as the PSNI have been forced to withdraw their funding.

Police Chief Constable George Hamilton said that the centre is no longer financially viable and, due to the collapse of the executive, they had been unable to secure long term funding.

He said: "For several years I have had numerous conversations with colleagues in the Department of Justice and the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service regarding the future sustainability of the RADAR Centre.

"I have raised significant concerns regarding the ongoing and unreasonable financial burden this has placed on our budgets and the lack of cross departmental responsibility associated with its operation."

He said the PSNI had been funding the centre in an unsustainable way for nearly five years.

"This is not just about cost-cutting, it is not just about governance but it is also about the ability of government in Northern Ireland to share partnership responsibilities," he added.

The RADAR centre has 12 staff, all of whom are expected to be redeployed elsewhere in the police force.

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