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Police college will be a force to be reckoned with

I AM writing in response to the letter 'New police college is just another white elephant' (Write Back, January 19).

The new Joint Public Services Training college will be very much part of the fabric of life in Northern Ireland and signifies the long-term commitment we are making in our public service delivery.

As the title suggests, it is not a police training site, but one developed to meet the needs of our public services. The main partners with PSNI include the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and Prison Service, but I truly expect that others in both the criminal justice and the wider public service family will find it a place where they develop the services they deliver.

This is a 50-year programme. The college will not be completed until 2015 and, while it will deliver foundation training programmes, its main focus will be on practical scenario training and professional development.

As in all public-sector capital projects, there are clear lines of accountability. The planning and building of this college is subject to rigorous governance and the business case was approved by a number of Executive ministers.

To upgrade our current facilities would require significant investment and the public would rightly question why we are pouring good money into facilities which are unlikely ever to be adequate.

Finally, the money awarded to the college is not available to fund any other project; I would think it a real pity that we would lose that huge investment in Northern Ireland if we did not fulfil our commitment to build the college.

JUDITH GILLESPIE

Deputy Chief Constable, PSNI

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