Other News In Brief

£750,000 Cocaine Seized In Co Armagh

Police have seized cocaine, worth an estimated street value of £750,000, in Portadown, Co Armagh.

The discovery was made on Wednesday night.

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dorlores Kelly said: "Without a doubt were it not for the diligent and thorough work of the PSNI that these drugs would soon be in circulation across the North.

"The seizure of such a large quantity of Class A drugs is part of a worrying trend that there has been an increase of hard drug use in the Northern Ireland.

"The number of drug seizures this year has almost doubled since 2005 and the amount of cocaine powder recovered by police is almost three times the amount confiscated last year.

"Increases in drug use can be directly linked to an increase in criminality. We must hope that these figures are an indication that the police are getting better at combating drug dealers rather than an increase in drug trafficking on our streets."

Newly Developed Community Hub In Co L'Derry Opens

A newly developed Causeway Rural and Urban Network Community Hub has opened in Coleraine, Co L'Derry.

Funding of £1.8 million from the Department for Social Development (DSD) through its Modernisation Fund along with £462,000 funding from the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers (OFMDFM) Social Investment Fund has enabled Causeway Rural and Urban Network to complete the new build.

Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey said: "This Community Hub will be an invaluable resource centre and is a welcome boost for the people of this area.
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"Through my Department's Modernisation Fund, community organisations can benefit financially to help meet the needs of vulnerable members of our society. I welcome the completion of this project as it will further enhance community cohesion and participation.

"By targeting resources in a way that has maximum impact, this Community Hub not only delivers the aims of the Modernisation Fund programme but demonstrates it in a practical way."

£462,000 of the funding is from OFMDFM through the Executive's Social Investment Fund.

PSNI Criticised Over Christmas Office Closures

Ulster Unionist MLA and Policing Board Member Ross Hussey has criticised moves by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to close police enquiry offices over the Christmas period and various public holidays thereafter.

Mr Hussey said: "I have been informed that the only enquiry office in Northern Ireland that will be open on Christmas Day is Musgrave Street in Belfast.

"This to me is a dangerous withdrawal of access to police over public holidays. Whilst I accept police officers are on duty 24/7 365 days a year, many people feel that the physical presence of police staff at enquiry offices is also necessary.

"I know from my time as a police officer that people called into police stations at Christmas time for a variety of reasons, including to report assaults, to seek assistance or even to deal with sudden deaths.

"Whether it is to report a crime or even produce driving documents the removal of an additional day is a backward step.

"I believe that the level of savings which will result from this will be relatively insignificant in terms of the totality of the police budget, because the station enquiry office staff are civil servants whose pay would not equate to that of a senior Constable."


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