The capital’s deputy mayor for policing has launched a competition to design a new, state of the art headquarters for the Metropolitan Police.
The current Scotland Yard building in Victoria is to be sold off as part of the Met’s and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime’s (MOPAC) efforts to save £500m over the next three years.
The Met says moving from the current building and disposing of other underused buildings will allow it to save £60m in running costs.
Other measures in the Met’s plans to cut expenditure include closing 136 police front counters and abolishing local specialist crime units. The force is also reducing the number of officers who hold the rank of Sergeant and above.
City Hall says the reforms, the biggest re-organisation of London policing in a generation, will allow Mayor Boris Johnson to preserve front line office numbers while meeting the challenge posed by reductions in the UK government’s grants to London.
Following a refit, the Met will move its HQ to the Curtis Green Building on Victoria Embankment which will be renamed Scotland Yard ahead of the transfer of HQ functions.
The building was originally constructed as an extension to the Met’s second HQ, now known as the Norman Shaw buildings and used as offices for MPs.
On Monday Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh and Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey visited the building to launch the competition.
Architects have until June 27th to submit expressions of interest after which a shortlist will be drawn up. The final design will be announced in October with the Met expected to move into the new building in 2015.
Speaking to MayorWatch, Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh promised his office would put in place “all the control mechanisms to make sure we stick to budget” and deliver the promised savings.
Deputy Commissioner Mackey added that the Met was “absolutely focused on making sure we get value for money” for Londoners.
Asked if there was a danger of the Met’s head office functions outgrowing the new, smaller building, he said it was “highly unlikely” they would need more HQ space in future.
He added: “The reality is nowadays there are somethings which are location specific and I think the Metropolitan police will always need some sort of footprint right in central London. But a lot of the things we currently do in some of our central London buildings could just as easily be done in any one of the 32 boroughs across London.”
Both Mr Greenhalgh and Mr Mackey said they wanted architects to consider the issue of public accountability and transparency as part of the design process. The new design is also required to retain the world-famous revolving Scotlan Yard sign.