PSNI to shut road safety centre after failure to find funding

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI home affairs correspondent

Image caption,
The Radar centre in Belfast includes a life-size model street

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has made a final decision to shut a facility used to teach thousands of young people about road safety.

The force said "regrettably" it could no longer afford the £650,000-a-year budget.

The Risk Awareness and Danger Avoidance Responsibility Centre (Radar) cost £1m and was launched in 2016.

The centre in Belfast was reprieved from closure a year ago, but long-term funding has not been found.

It contains a life-size model street, complete with bus and train stops, police station and a courthouse.

It is considered one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK.

Existing bookings

Since opening, it has been used to educate 45,000 children and young people about road, fire, home and transport safety.

It will shut on 20 December and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is working on proposals to redeploy its 15 staff.

The facility has faced uncertainty for 18 months, since the PSNI urged Stormont departments to take on its costs.

Additional funding was then obtained last December, allowing it to remain open but a lasting fix was not found.

"We have been trying to find a sustainable solution for some time but despite best efforts, we have been unable to achieve this," said Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd.

"It is hoped the majority of existing bookings can be accommodated."

More on this story