London

Met Police property sales raise £1bn since 2012

Met HQ
Image caption The Queen will open the new Met headquarters on Victoria Embankment on Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police has sold off almost £1bn worth of property over the past five years, official figures show.

Hundreds of flats and buildings in London - some owned by the Met since the 19th Century - have been bought from the force since 2012.

The most lucrative deal was the sale of New Scotland Yard in 2016, which sold for £370m to property developers.

The figures come as the Queen opens the new Met headquarters on Victoria Embankment.

The Met said the sales meant more resources were "available for effective and accessible policing" and that money would be invested in updating remaining buildings and improving IT services.

"The Metropolitan Police Service has a duty to provide the best value for Londoners and make sure all its resources are delivering the best possible policing services," a Met spokesman added.

More closures 'likely'

The force has warned it needs increased funding from the government or it will be forced to make cuts of £400m between now and 2021.

Scotland Yard has already had to make £600m of savings since 2010, according to the City Hall, due to budgets being effectively frozen.

Those cuts are likely to mean the closure of more police stations and police station front desks, and the merging of borough commands, City Hall has said.

Last month, the Home Office said: "Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has been clear that there remain significant efficiencies in policing to be delivered from digitisation, collaboration and improving workforce capability."

Some 24 police stations have been shut down and sold since 2012, including Chelsea police station, bought for £40m in 2015.

The figures were obtained by the Press Association under Freedom of Information requests.

They also show that:

  • 20 blocks of flats have been sold at a total cost of £111.5m, with Kilmuir house flats (1-49) in Belgravia fetching £45m in 2016.
  • The most expensive single residential property was a flat in Sailmakers Court, Fulham, which went for £1.4m in 2012.
  • Overall, 67 "operational" units were sold, as were 20 "residential blocks" and 84 "residential units".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Met's former headquarters, New Scotland Yard, was sold last year for £370m

Ten most expensive sales

  • New Scotland Yard, £370m, 2016.
  • Land at Hendon Police training centre, £120m total, 2014-2016.
  • Kilmuir House Flats (1-49), Belgravia, £45m, 2016.
  • Chelsea police station, £40m, 2015.
  • 58 Buckingham Gate, £31.5m, 2015.
  • 3-5 Nightingale Lane, £30.1m, 2014.
  • Fulham police station, £20m, 2016.
  • Hampstead police station, £14.1m, 2014.
  • Drummond Crescent (1-39), Euston, £12.9m, 2014.
  • Barnes Green, £10m, 2014.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has said officers have been "stretched" following recent terror attacks, along with a rise in violent crime.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said he was pleased a fund had been created "to go to good use" but questioned where the police would be without the money.

He added: "The government seem to be doing it on the cheap. Without this, we'd be relying on criminals' money to fund the police."

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