To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the arrangements are for policing the area around the Odyssey complex in Belfast; whether different arrangements are made at weekends; what plans he has to make more resources available for policing in this area; and if he will make a statement.
The Odyssey Complex has developed into a major entertainment and event centre, attracting over four million people annually throughout Northern Ireland including visitors from abroad. The PSNI have a statutory duty to police the area and ensure public safety, including the many families and young people who frequent the complex and surrounding area. In order to achieve this, East Belfast PSNI works in partnership with the management and security staff at the Odyssey, the Laganside Corporation, Belfast City Council and Translink.
In order to combat public disorder, assaults and crime, East Belfast District PSNI implements Operation Safenight every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between the hours of 7pm and 3am. Operation Safenight is focused not only on the Odyssey complex but also the Short Strand community interface and surrounding Laganside area. This operation is resourced with 1 Sergeant and 4 Constables for East Belfast DCU supported by 2–3 Regional Tactical Support Group (TSG) vehicles when available. If TSG resources are unavailable, then other East Belfast anti-crime patrols would deploy in support of the Operation Safenight personnel, where necessary.
During the rest of the week the Odyssey area would be policed in the same manner as the rest of the East Belfast District.
The PSNI continue to review the deployment of police resources commensurate with other policing priorities in the East Belfast area.