The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, unveiled plans to pump hundreds of millions of pounds into modernising frontline policing in London as he signed a deal to sell New Scotland Yard. The outdated headquarters of the Met Police sold for £370m to Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), £120m more than the guide price and three times what was originally paid for the site freehold in 2008.
Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Met Police, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smartphones and body cameras, enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.
ADFG is a multi-billion dollar alternative investment company based in Abu Dhabi. The company has a track record of financing major central London developments and plans to create a mixed-use residential development on the site.
New Scotland Yard was put on the market by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in September, for a guide price of £250m. No longer fit for operational purposes the proceeds raised by the sale will be used to deliver on the Mayor’s commitment to balance the Met’s budget and keep police numbers high. This sale is part of an ongoing radical overhaul of the Met estate, which has so far raised £215m through the sale of 52 under-used and outdated buildings. When completed in 2016, this restructure will save London’s police force over £60m in annual running costs – enough to fund 1000 officers – and will leave behind a smaller, more modern estate, which will include a new training facility in Hendon and a world-class forensics lab and control centre in Lambeth.
The operational HQ of the Met is now on the move to the Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment, owned by MOPAC and empty since late 2011. Currently undergoing a £58m transformation into a slimmed down HQ, this relocation alone will save the Met over £6m a year in running costs.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said, “The Met Police has a unique place in history and they need a home fit for the future, but police budgets are under real pressure. The sale of this under-used and outdated building means we can now not only protect that rich heritage, but also fund the new HQ and kit out bobbies with the latest mobile technology to secure the future of the force. This landmark deal allows us to preserve the past whilst giving today’s Met a vital cash boost so our officers can go on keeping London safe.”
Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said, “Police funding continues to be under extreme pressure. We now expect to need to making savings of up to £1.4bn by the end of the next spending review, including some £600m which we will have delivered by 2015/16. This is equivalent to a third of the Met’s original budget so this money is absolutely vital to us.
“It will allow us to reinvest in our remaining estate and in the technology needed to support our officers as they fight crime and support victims. It is only with this kind of intelligent investment that we will be able to do more with less.”