A London Assembly member has called on the Metropolitan Police to open its extensive historical archives and collections to the public.
The Met owns several collections which record its history and some of the UK’s most famous crimes, including a private museum at New Scotland Yard which is accessible by invitation only.
Exhibits include letters from Jack The Ripper and evidence that led to the prosecution of the Great Train Robbers.
The force also owns a collection historic vehicles located at Teddington and a river Police Museum at Wapping Police Station which can be seen by appointment.
Conservative AM Roger Evans wants the Met to use its upcoming move from Scotland Yard as an opportunity to increase public access to the collections by partnering with a private sector exhibition operator.
In a report published today, Mr Evans suggests potential profits from such a deal could pay for an additional 54,900 front line police hours in just three months.
The report says the cost of the Met building a dedicated museum of its own would “necessitate a sizeable initial investment” at a time the force is looking to make savings.
It also says: “The popularity of attraction such as the Tower of London and Clink Museum, as well as the evolution of London’s ‘Ghost Walks’ and ‘Jack the Ripper Tours’ suggest that demand to view the Crime Museum’s collection would be considerable.”
Once the level of public demand is established, the report says the Met could then look to manage any future exhibitions in-house to maximise profits.
Launching his report, Mr Evans said: “These hidden historic crime artefacts are a vital part of London’s history and their appeal to the public eye is evident. Exhibits such as letters from Jack The Ripper will likely prove enormously popular with residents and visitors to the City who already demonstrate a fascination with the more macabre chapters of London’s history.
“Many of the exhibits showcase the impressive work undertaken by the Met in some of the Capital’s most high profile investigations. It is a no-brainer that during a period when budgets are tight, the Met should not only open up the Crime Museum collection to the public but also profit off its exhibition and put that income into protecting Londoners.”