The Police Service of Northern Ireland, in conjunction with other stakeholders, has completed two reviews of the Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource (RADAR) Centre. Both of these have found that the RADAR Centre, as it is currently constituted, is not financially viable. Coupled with this and due to the nature of the current lease agreement and significant financial pressures, we intend to exercise the break clause within our current lease with the result that the Centre will close by the end of this financial year.
Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “There are a number of factors that led to this decision. These include the fact that we could not purchase the property at its current value, the loss of Road Safety Partnership course fees, declining footfall and reducing sponsorship have led us to the point where income did not cover costs. The collapse of the NI Assembly and subsequent political uncertainly has also impacted on funding allocations for the Centre, for example progress was being made towards securing long term funding via the Social Investment Fund however this could not be progressed when the Executive collapsed.
Mr Hamilton added: “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.
“We explored many options to resolve these issues, however, we have come to the point where we must act now or sustain significant additional costs over the long term.
“Regrettably this decision will impact on the staff within the Centre. I met with them on Friday to update them on these developments. All staff within the Centre will be redeployed within our wider police staff establishment.
“The value of the RADAR Centre is beyond question and its focus on safety, vulnerability and youth engagement are all areas that link strongly to our policing purpose.
Mr Hamilton concluded: “For almost five years we have been funding the Centre in an unsustainable way. 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.
“I hope that the majority of existing bookings can be accommodated but, if not, the staff will be in touch directly with those affected.”