London

Met Police 'runs out of things to sell' to boost funds

New Scotland Yard sign Image copyright PA
Image caption The most lucrative deal was the selling of the Met's headquarters to foreign investors

The Metropolitan Police has sold more than £1bn in property to boost funding, figures have shown.

Hundreds of flats and buildings have been sold by the London force since 2012, data acquired the Press Association through a Freedom of Information request shows.

The force must save £335m by 2022 to cope with cuts, according to the mayor's office.

A Police Federation leader said the Met had "run out of things to sell".

The most lucrative deal was the sale of New Scotland Yard for £370m to investors from Abu Dhabi in 2014.

Chelsea police station fetched £40m in 2015, while flats in Belgravia went for £45m a year later.

The Met has said money from sales will be invested in updating remaining buildings and improving IT services.

A spokesman said: "Selling property that does not meet the required standard to support our frontline policing teams results in more resources being available for effective and accessible policing."

The sell-off has left Scotland Yard with 137 "operational" buildings and 36 residential buildings.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: "We've sold the crown jewels, so to speak. We've run out of things to sell.

"At the end of the day [the properties] have all been sold so that we don't have to cut police officers. That is shocking."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Home Office says London has the highest number of police officers per head of population in the UK

In 2017, London Mayor Sadiq Khan closed 38 police station front counters to save £8m per year, and warned the Met was "running out of options" for boosting resources.

Responding to the figures, a spokesperson for the mayor called on the government "to step up and reverse their huge cuts to the Met's budget, which have forced us to make tough decisions, so we can keep London safe."

"The Met is facing around a billion pounds worth of savings under this government - it has made as many efficiencies as possible, but it is now cut to the bone," they said.

Earlier this month the mayor confirmed he would be raising council tax by the maximum amount in his power to help fund policing.

The Met is also planning to use its brand to sell clothing, toys and other merchandise to raise extra funds.

A Home Office spokesperson said the recent police funding settlement "provides the most substantial police funding increase since 2010.

"This settlement will help police forces to meet the financial pressures they face next year, while also providing additional money for recruitment and neighbourhood policing, counter-terrorism, and fighting serious and organised crime."

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