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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 18:51 GMT
Government to fund police college
Police trainees
Work could begin next year on new police training college
The government is expected to announce on Tuesday that it will provide all of the funding needed for a new 130m police training college.

However, the college will also be used by the fire and rescue service and prison staff.

A 210-acre site near Cookstown was selected for the college in 2004.

But work has not started as building the college would cost at least 130m and until now the government has said it will provide just 90m.

An international policing conference is starting at the Waterfront Hall on Tuesday and Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain is expected to announce that the government will now provide all of the funding.

Such an announcement would avoid questions about why the government has delayed a project that the police say is essential for future training needs.

The conference is about improving policing and looking to the future.

However, the initial plan has changed and the college will no longer only be for the use of the police - the fire and rescue service and prison staff will also it.

Until now, each service had wanted to build its own training centre.

The police college would have cost around 130m, the fire service had planned a centre costing around 30m and the prison service hoped to build new facilities costing up to 10m.

That would have been a total cost of 170m - but the integrated college could be built for about 130m.

'State-of-the art'

An integrated college is not what the Policing Board had originally planned, but government sources have said it will be state-of-the art and among the best of its kind in Europe.

After more than three years of waiting, the board is likely to give the announcement a warm welcome.

The project still needs final approval from the Treasury - but discussions have already taken place and Mr Hain is believed to be expecting a positive response.

If he gets it, work could finally start next year.

It is envisaged the complex would have accommodation for more than 300 people, 40 classrooms and purpose built villages to train officers in a variety of real life situations.

The college was a key recommendation in the Patten Report on police reform.




SEE ALSO
Police college cash up for debate
12 Dec 06 |  Northern Ireland
Police college future 'in doubt'
19 May 06 |  Northern Ireland
Funding urged for police college
05 Dec 06 |  Northern Ireland
Police college to cost extra 50m
20 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland
Police college set for Cookstown
19 Feb 04 |  Northern Ireland

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