04/07/2002

Defunct prison could be new PSNI training centre

The Policing Board has decided that one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious prisons could form the ideal location for a new state of the art training facility for PSNI recruits.

At its monthly meeting Board Members considered the key criteria for such a police college would be met by acquiring the 270-acre Maze Prison site in County Antrim.

In May the Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown revealed plans to transfer Government assets such as the Maze Prison and Crumlin Road Prison to the Northern Ireland Executive for redevelopment, in addition to several army bases in County Londonderry and the Belfast region.

The real estate, thought to be worth billions of pounds, will be used to finance public services such as health, transport, water and sewage.

The Chairman of the Policing Board, Professor Desmond Rea said yesterday: “Despite some refurbishment, the Garnerville site offers a poor facility for police training and we have been working with the PSNI to find a suitable alternative.

“The difficulty has been finding a location which fulfils the numerous requirements of a new police college. The Board believes that the Maze site would be ideal and could be developed as a training facility of world class standard.”

The Board’s view has been fully endorsed by the Acting Chief Constable, Colin Cramphorn and the newly appointed Chief Constable, Hugh Orde.

The decision of the Board will now be passed to the Secretary of State.

(AMcE)


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