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London Metropolitan Police Consider Selling New Scotland Yard

The rotating sign outside London Metropolitan Police headquarters.
Alastair Grant
The rotating sign outside London Metropolitan Police headquarters.

It's elementary: London's Metropolitan Police needs to trim spending and rather than cut staff, senior officials are suggesting selling the iconic New Scotland Yard building.

The force needs to make huge budget cuts; getting rid of the building (which isn't in Scotland and doesn't have a yard) could save more than 10.5 million dollars, according to the Telegraph.

Craig Mackey, the Met Police Deputy Commissioner, told the Telegraph the Yard building is old and expensive to maintain: "It is a 60s building, so the infrastructure and support services that are in the building, I think, from the heating and ventilation through to the IT provision, is from the 60s." He says the money would be better spent on policing.

London's mayor asked the police force to cut more than 800 million dollars from its budget by 2015; Mackey has warned to reach that goal, one third of Met property must be sold, says the BBC. At least five police stations have already been let go. Other cost-cutting proposals include moving local police stations into supermarkets.

But there are no reports of job cuts to the police staff, notes the Guardian. Nor do the proposals suggest transferring any current police responsibilities to private firms. The London Metropolitan Police says it's the biggest police service operating in greater London.

If the Met relocates again, it may not bring along the fabled triangular sign that rotates in front of the steel building. But its legendary status will stick. When the police force moved into the current headquarters in 1967, the fictional Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Inspector Lestrade easily made the transition too.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.
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