Mayor Boris Johnson has promised that a £125m windfall raised from the sale of former police buildings will be used to maintain front line policing.
The sell-off follows a review which identified dozens Metropolitan Police buildings and land holdings which are no longer needed for operational use and led to the closure of 63 “under-used” police front counters.
City Hall says cash raised from the sales, and the resulting reductions in maintenance and operating costs, will help the force save £500m over the next two years without requiring cuts to frontline policing.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) originally expected to raise £40m from the disposals but in March announced it had received more than £90m. It has since completed more sales, taking the total raised to £125m
Confirmed uses for the sites include supermarkets, schools and homes.
Announcing the updated figures, Mayor Boris Johnson said: “I pledged to deliver savings from the police estate in the face of unprecedented budget pressures and without compromising on resourcing for frontline policing.
“As a direct benefit of shedding under-utilised sites, we are freeing up tens of millions of pounds to maintain police officer numbers and to generate savings to invest in the future.”
Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, added: “The money we have raised from the sale these outdated and unsuitable building and the reduced running costs possible from a smaller, more modern estate are allowing us to become the kind of efficient and effective police force that London truly deserves.”
However opposition parties on the London Assembly have accused the Mayor and his policing deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh, of failing to deliver on previous promises.
Green AM Baroness Jenny Jones said: “The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime may have been good at selling off buildings but this is a one off solution done to give the Mayor the money to try to restore police officer numbers to the level he promised but is yet to deliver.
“The Mayor has missed the chance to provide a lot of affordable housing for key workers in London, including police officers and staff. He may say that by selling police buildings he is able to provide more homes for Londoners but he is also evicting police staff and officers from affordable accommodation and replacing it with expensive property.”
Labour have accused the Mayor of holding a “fire sale” which they say will reduce the police’s presence and of failing to deliver new front counters to replace closed stations.
Joanne McCartney AM said: “17 of these properties were front counters, and while Boris has trialled ‘contact points’ as an alternative, these are underfunded, ineffective and in some cases non-existent. This is not the “equivalent or better service” Boris promised Londoners.”