Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 12:10 UK

Northern Ireland questions

The government has agreed to provide more than £12m for an automatic number plate recognition system to help police in Northern Ireland fight crime, MPs have heard.

But Northern Ireland minister Hugo Swire warned that resources may not always be so readily available in the future as there was a "very tight fiscal round".

The announcement in the Commons was welcomed by shadow Northern Ireland minister Paul Goggins and the DUP's Nigel Dodds.

At question time on 30 June 2010, Labour former minister David Hanson had asked the government to ensure that funding was provided "not just to tackle the emergency situation but also to deal with the long-term security of crime issues, which affect communities across the province".

Mr Swire said: "Crime issues which don't have any kind of terrorist connotation are up to the Department of Justice, (Northern Ireland justice minister) David Ford and the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland).

"Of course we will provide all the resources that are needed - I cannot stress enough the close co-operation we have with the Garda on cross-border issues.

"And I'm delighted to announce today that one of the things we've been lobbied for by the PSNI which is an automatic number plate reading device, which will cost £12.9m - the Secretary of State has been lobbying, since he took office, the Treasury - and I'm delighted to be able to announce to the House this morning that we have got that funding for the PSNI."

This would be a "very useful device in their continuing battle" against crime, Mr Swire said.

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