Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 20:28 UK

City's panic system out of order

One of the devices on Donegall Square North
It is not known when the panic buttons will be back in use

Belfast's panic button system has been out of order since Tuesday, it has emerged.

There are five emergency contact points in the centre of the city.

The PSNI, which operates the system, said they were shut down because of maintenance work. It is not known when they will be back in use.

The panic buttons were introduced in 2003 at a cost of 43,000. However, it emerged last year that they had been used just 16 times in five years.

South Belfast DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt said: "Anything which can assist members of the public to alert an attack, or anything else, needs to be working and should be checked on a daily basis."

There are five of the devices in central Belfast, located at Botanic Avenue, Castle Junction, Donegall Square North, Dublin Road and Great Victoria Street.

It has been claimed they have been used as often by confused tourists as people in genuine need of emergency assistance. Prank calls have also proved a problem.




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