A “COP shop” on London’s bloody gangland frontline has cost taxpayers a huge £690,000 – despite barely ever being open.
The “front counter” base – a simple desk inside a disused shop – was meant to replace real police stations axed nearby.
Officials spent a vast £319,000 on a refurb job in a bid to give people in Tulse Hill, South East London, the chance to chat to cops and report crime.
But locals say it is “always shut” despite a host of stabbings and shootings nearby – including a boy aged 17 who was shot on Monday.
The rest of the total bill – which would pay the wages of 23 new PCs – is made up of rent, running costs, rates and insurance.
The shock figures emerged after a freedom of information request filed by The Sun.
Despite its lack of use, papers show Sadiq Khan’s Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) agreed to extend the shop’s lease in January 2017.
And it is not due to expire until September – meaning the total bill is likely to top £700,000.
One local shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, said: “I can’t remember the last time it was open.
‘FAILING TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE’
“The shutters are always down.
“Everyone round here would prefer more police on the street instead of this type of thing.
“Shops are for business, not for police to sit in.”
MOPAC first took out the lease on the shop in February 2007.
It has since spent £155,400 on rent, £130,600 on other costs and £85,000 on rates and insurance on the property.
The Met said it had “a view to exiting the lease in September 2019” but claimed it had “not permanently closed” the shop.
David Spencer, of the Centre for Crime Prevention, blasted: “As London finds itself stuck in a downward spiral of violent crime under Sadiq Khan’s mayorship, it absolutely beggars belief that locations are being closed down where people can access police services and support quickly and easily.
“Even more staggering is the fact that they will still be coughing up huge sums in rent for an empty space while in neighbouring streets the capital’s knife crime epidemic continues to rage.
The Sun says
POLITICAL pipsqueak Sadiq Khan wastes no opportunity to moan about not getting more cash to curb London knife epidemic.
But now we find out he’s splurged £700,000 on a gimmicky “cop shop” which locals say is nearly always closed.
That could pay the salaries of two dozen officers to make the streets safer.
When will the capital’s Mayor end the grandstanding, and finally get serious?
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“We have almost become desensitised to such colossal wastes of money, but while both the Mayor’s Office and the Met are failing to keep people safe, they become even more acutely worrying.
“It will be interesting to see how the Mayor justifies this unnecessary cost to the people of Tulse Hill and other parts of London which continue to live in fear on his watch.”
The Mayor of London’s 14-strong press team did not respond to requests for comment.
How the money could have been spent
- 23 x newly-qualified PCs salaries
- 20 x standard police cars (at £33,621 each)
- 460 x Taser X2s (at circa £1,500 each)
- 20,621 x general patrol body armour vests (at £33.46 per vest)
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