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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 08:22 GMT 09:22 UK
Police college future 'in doubt'
Members of the PSNI
The training centre is expected to open in 2009
The future of Northern Ireland's new police training college remains in doubt because of funding issues, a DUP Policing Board member has said.

William Hay said the government was still offering 40m less than the total building cost, expected to be 150m.

Mr Hay, who is chair of the board's finance committee, said they had asked politicians to lobby Downing Street.

He said the Policing Board and the government could be on a collision course over the issue.

"If we can't get this issue resolved both ourselves in the Policing Board and the government is on a complete collision course," the Foyle assembly member said.

"We are in a position now where we have asked the three political leaders who have people on the Policing Board to write to the prime minister.

"We have asked as a Policing Board to have a meeting wit the prime minister, we want that meeting as soon as possible.

"I don't believe it is any good any longer speaking to direct rule ministers in Northern Ireland."

The academy, which is to be built on a 270-acre site near Cookstown, County Tyrone, is expected to be completed in 2009, a year later than anticipated.

Increasing cost

When the project was announced in 2004 the total price was estimated at about 80m, however, in November 2005 it was revealed that it would cost 50m more than was originally expected.

At that time a revised business case was sent to the Treasury in a bid to secure the finances needed for construction to begin within 12 months.

It contains details on 300 accommodation rooms, a specially erected village for public order training, and a decontamination unit to prepare for biological or chemical attack.

A train carriage, aircraft fuselage and on-site bank to simulate hijackings and robberies have also been included in the blueprint.

The Patten Commission recommended that a new state-of-the-art academy should be built to replace the present college at Garnerville in east Belfast.

The Desertcreat site, beside the Loughry food science centre, was chosen as the location in February 2004.

But after bringing in professional consultants, the plans were reviewed to include more specifications.

The scheme, which involves the largest ever public-private finance initiative ever undertaken in the province, is expected to deliver a big economic and employment boost to the Mid-Ulster area.

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20 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland
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19 Feb 04 |  Northern Ireland
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18 Feb 04 |  Northern Ireland
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25 Sep 02 |  Northern Ireland

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