The Mayor of London has announced a new policing strategy which could see £300m of property sold off for redevelopment as stations and offices are closed.
Most of the property value would be realised from the sale of New Scotland Yard, for an estimated £150m, but may local stations would be closed as the force tries to deliver a more flexible and modern policing service.
Boris Johnson’s draft Police and Crime Plan, has been developed by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) and is subject to public consultation. It confirms the Mayor’s commitment to maintain police numbers at or around 32,000, but to redirect them from back office to street policing. Safer Neighbourhood Teams across London will get an extra 2,600 officers.
The Mayor says that this decision to focus on street policing means it will be necessary to sell many of the “under-used and outmoded buildings” in the Met estate. With almost 500 buildings, costing £203m a year to run, the estate is vast and expensive. The draft Met Estates Strategy proposes a reduction in the overall size of the estate from 900,000 sqm to 600,000 sqm.
To achieve that aim the Met plans to sell its New Scotland Yard HQ and around 200 of its least used buildings. 65 of the 136 front counters are proposed for closure. These are, says the Mayor, the least used.
To compensate for the loss of the front counters, and to increase public access to officers, new locations for crime prevention desks and police bureaus will be identified in supermarkets, or co-located with other public services in council buildings or libraries or potentially the Post Office.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Putting more officers on the streets is key to driving down crime and boosting public confidence in the police and that is why it is at the heart of our plans for policing in the capital. In the current economic climate there is no denying that tough decisions will have to be made but policing in the capital is changing and we must change with it by creating a police force that is ready to tackle the issues that matter most to Londoners.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh, former leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, and now Dpeuty Mayor of London for Policing, said: “By putting bobbies before buildings and being smarter about how we use budgets we can not only create a police force to be proud of but one that we can afford.”
Full list of North London stations to be sold:
- BARNET: WHETSTONE POLICE STATION, BARNET POLICE STATION
- ENFIELD: SOUTHGATE POLICE STATION, WINCHMORE HILL POLICE STATION
- HACKNEY: HACKNEY POLICE STATION
- HARINGEY: MUSWELL HILL POLICE STATION
- ISLINGTON: NO PROPOSED CLOSURES
- REDBRIDGE: WANSTEAD POLICE STATION, WOODFORD POLICE STATION
- WALTHAM FOREST: WALTHAM HOUSE, WALTHAMSTOW TOWN CENTRE OFFICE SNU, WALTHAMSTOW POLICE STATION, LEYTON POLICE STATION