Northern Ireland

Funding reprieve for £1m RADAR centre

Model street at the RADAR centre
Image caption The RADAR centre includes a life-size model street, with bus and train stops, a police station, custody cell and a courthouse

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has temporarily reversed plans to close a £1m safety centre in Belfast.

The Risk Awareness and Danger Avoidance Responsibility Centre (RADAR) opened in 2015.

The PSNI announced in September that it would close by March 2019, as they could no longer afford to fund it.

However, in a statement, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said funding had been secured for the centre to stay open for another 12 months.

"In August we advised the public that the Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource (RADAR) was to close in December due to budgetary pressures and other factors," he said.

"At the time we also said that we would continue to work with government departments and key stakeholders to explore any further options to keep the centre open.

"Over the past number of months we have been working closely with our colleagues in the Department of Justice and the Department of Finance and others, and I am pleased to say that we have secured both funding and lease arrangements for a further 12 months which will in turn allow us time to develop a sustainable future for the centre."

Image caption The PSNI chief constable, George Hamilton, had previously criticised the the lack of cross-departmental responsibility for the centre

Mr Todd said that the 12 staff in the centre had been informed and could resume taking bookings for use of the centre in 2019 as a result.

RADAR has been used to teach tens of thousands of children and young people about road, fire, home and transport safety since it opened.

It has a life-size model street, bus and train stops, police station and a courthouse and is one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK.

However, the building which houses it is privately owned.

The PSNI chief constable, George Hamilton, had previously criticised the the lack of cross-departmental responsibility for the centre, arguing that the PSNI should not be responsible for the bulk of its £500,000 per year running costs.

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