Force spends £412m on ‘cost-effective’ counter terror and organised crime hub

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) will bring together its counter-terrorism and specialist crime operations following the purchase of the Empress State Building.Force spends £412m on ‘cost-effective’ counter terror and organised crime hub

Mar 26, 2018
By Joe Shine

Initially owned by Capital & Counties Properties PLC (Capco), the force bought the building for £250 million, and will spend £162 million on upgrades to create a new counter-terrorism and organised crime hub.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said moving to the single site in Hammersmith, south-west London, and disposing of other buildings will save on rent and free up money to support frontline policing.

A significant proportion of the Empress State Building has been leased by the MPS since 2003, and the purchase saves the force having to lease it for a further 15 years.

The site currently holds around 4,000 staff from the MPS, some of whom worked in Scotland Yard when it was based in The Broadway.

Before the MPS decided to buy the tower, Capco had planned to turn it into 340 flats.

The Empress State Building, which was constructed in 1961, was London’s tallest commercial building until it was overtaken by Millbank Tower the following year.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime said it is unable to confirm when the hub will be fully completed due to operational security reasons.

Mr Khan said: “Last year, our city was subjected to four terrorist attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green. We know that countless more have been thwarted by our hardworking and dedicated counter terrorism officers, whose heroism in these times of adversity we must never take for granted. At a time when policing budgets continue to be cut by Government, it is right that we prioritise investment in those areas that matter most.

“The fact is, terrorism and serious organised crime continues to pose a real and ever-present threat in our city, and it is imperative that we give our police officers the tools they need to help keep us safe. This new counter-terror and organised crime hub for the capital will ensure that London is brought into line with the rest of the country whilst being best value for money.

“It will bring our expertise and capabilities together in one place, so they can work more efficiently and effectively to ensure our city is as protected as possible.”

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick, added: “Last year’s attacks were absolutely appalling. As we continue to try to do everything we can to prevent such events we must take every opportunity to develop our services in a cost-effective manner.

“The new hub will allow us to continue to improve our abilities to confront the significant and ever-changing terrorist threat as well as to deal even more effectively with organised crime, cyber crime and other serious crimes. This development will undoubtedly support our hard-pressed officers and staff and will ultimately help make London safer.”

Lord Toby Harris, who undertook a recent review of the capital’s preparedness to respond to a terror attack, said: “A few weeks ago I spent some time visiting the existing arrangements for coordinating counterterrorism and organised crime work in London. These are spread out over several sites and it is not possible for all the services to work together as effectively as they would in the proposed new combined hub. I also reviewed the detail of the business case and I was convinced that what is proposed makes sense, represents value for money and will make a major contribution to keeping Londoners safe.”

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