Met to downsize from Scotland Yard
New Scotland Yard is to be sold as the Metropolitan Police faces making cuts of more than £500 million, a senior officer has said.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey told the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime that the force hopes to save around £6.5 million per year by moving to a smaller headquarters.
Plans to close another five police stations have been approved so far, and there are proposals to shut 61 "front counter" services.
New Scotland Yard has been in its current location in Victoria Street since 1967 but Mr Mackey said it would take an investment of around £50 million to bring the building up to scratch. He said that, as the force faces staff cuts, there will also be more and more space at the site, which is "an expensive luxury" in central London.
Mr Mackey said: "It's an expensive building to run and it's an expensive building to maintain and as we go through this change programme it's going to have space in it that we don't need. In central London that's an expensive luxury."
The force paid £124.5 million for the building in 2008 and it costs £11 million per year to run. It is expected that the move will take around two years once approvals are in place.
The five police stations that are to close are South Norwood, Richmond, Highbury Vale, Walthamstow and Willesden Green. Met bosses are also shutting 61 counter services - some of which only receive a handful of visitors per day.
Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation John Tully said the sale of New Scotland Yard was like losing the Crown Jewels: "It's very regrettable that it's come to this. Clearly it's a building of age and it's got upkeep costs, but the old police authority and now Mopac have had a consistent policy of selling off property and they've now reached the Crown Jewels.
"The Mayor needs to look at his own office. He sits in a brand new building on the South Bank - why doesn't he sell that to save money?" he added.
While Met bosses have stressed that, despite the cuts, there will be more constables in the capital than ever - 25,000. Mr Tully said numbers of more senior ranks will be reduced, adding: "The people who are left are going to be severely challenged, because, to be frank, some of them can't do all of their job now. There are only so many hours in the day."