The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police force, has “run out of things to sell” after offloading more than £1 billion worth of property in just six years.
Hundreds of flats and buildings, some owned by the Met since the 19th century, have been sold off by the force since 2012.
They include New Scotland Yard, which went for £370 million to investors from Abu Dhabi for luxury flats two years ago.
“We’ve sold the Crown Jewels, so to speak. We’ve run out of things to sell. This is really, really, worrying for society,” said Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
The property was sold in order to prevent the force from cutting police officers amid funding cuts.
The Met claimed the sales would create more resources for effective and accessible policing, and release money to invest in updating remaining buildings and improving IT services.
Scotland Yard took in £41 million during the last financial year from selling off police stations and residential blocks, taking the total for the last six years above the £1 billion mark, data obtained by the Press Association reveals.
Last year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan closed 38 police station front counters to save £8 million per year, and warned Scotland Yard was running out of options regarding resources.
“Closing police stations is the stark reality of crippling government cuts to the police budget which has contributed to officer numbers dropping below 30,000 in London for the first time in 15 years,” a spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said.
There were 21,331 fewer police officers in England and Wales as of March this year compared with the same point in 2010, according to the Home Office.