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London Mayor Boris Johnson secures major cash boost for front line policing in historic Scotland Yard sale deal

The Metropolitan Police Service’s world famous New Scotland Yard headquarters has been sold to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group for £370 million in what is the biggest shake-up of the Met’s property estate since the 1960s. Proceeds from the sale are to be invested in cutting-edge technology and a leaner, more modern estate while the Met’s move to a new headquarters – the Curtis Green building on London’s Embankment – is already in progress.

In a landmark deal orchestrated by London Mayor Boris Johnson, the sale secured £120 million more than the guide price and three times what was originally paid for the site freehold back in 2008. Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Metropolitan Police Service, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smart phones and body cameras, in turn enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.

New Scotland Yard is also home to many unique artefacts and policing memorabilia dating back to the formation of the Metropolitan Police Service in 1829, none of which are currently on public display. The additional proceeds from the sale mean that a small portion of money raised can be used to relocate this collection to a dedicated museum site, allowing visitors from the UK and around the world to see rare crime artefacts and heritage items that tell the fabulous history of Scotland Yard.

Scotland Yard has been sold in a deal designed to benefit the Metropolitan Police Service but also members of the public

Scotland Yard has been sold in a deal designed to benefit not only the Metropolitan Police Service but also members of the public

Marketed as ‘Ten Broadway’, the 1.7-acre site, 600,000 square foot building attracted intense interest from around the world. In the end there were 11 credible bids with the Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), a multi-billion dollar alternative investment company based in Abu Dhabi, securing the deal.

With a track record of financing major central London developments, including the 1 Palace Street project adjacent to Buckingham Palace, ADFG now plans to create a mixed-use residential development on the site.

The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service since 1967, the outdated New Scotland Yard building was put on the market by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) last September for a guide price of £250 million. No longer fit for operational purposes, the proceeds raised by the sale of the building will be used to deliver on the Mayor’s commitment to balance the Met’s budget and keep policing numbers high.

Once redeveloped and sold, the Victoria Street site is projected to yield up to £100,000,000 million in stamp duty receipts for the UK Exchequer.

Radical overhaul of the Met’s estate

The sale is part of an ongoing radical overhaul of the Met’s estate which has so far raised £215 million through the sale of 52 under-used and outdated buildings. When completed in 2016, this restructure will save London’s police force over £60 million in annual running costs – enough to fund 1,000 officers – and will leave behind a smaller, more modern estate including a brand new training facility in Hendon and a world class forensics lab and Control Centre in Lambeth.

As stated, the operational headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service is now on the move to the Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment. This building is owned by MOPAC and has been empty since late 2011. Currently undergoing a £58 million transformation into a slimmed down headquarters, this relocation alone will save the Met over £6 million per annum in running costs.

London Mayor Boris Johnson

London Mayor Boris Johnson

Commenting on the deal, Boris Johnson said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has a unique place in history and needs a home that’s fit for the future. However, police budgets are under real pressure. The sale of this underused and outdated building means we can now not only protect that rich heritage, but also fund the new headquarters and kit out bobbies with the latest mobile technology to secure the future of the force. This landmark deal allows us to preserve the past while giving today’s Met a vital cash boost such that our officers can continue to safeguard London and its citizens.”

Stephen Greenhalgh (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime) added: “This deal shows that we were right to put bobbies before buildings. Only by taking the tough decisions to shrink the Met estate and instead focus resources on the fron tline are we now able to invest in the modern kit and technology the police need to fight crime in the 21st Century. The Scotland Yard sale is a win for everyone. Police officers receive the investment in technology they need, Londoners are afforded the modern, efficient police service they deserve and the public purse benefits from a £100 million windfall from stamp duty, in turn helping to fund our schools and hospitals.”

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM said: “Police funding continues to be under extreme pressure. We now expect to need to making savings of up to £1.4 billion by the end of the next spending review, including some £600 million which we will have delivered by 2015-2016. This is equivalent to a third of the Met’s original budget so this money is absolutely vital to us. It will allow us to reinvest in our remaining estate and in the technology needed to support our officers as they fight crime and support victims. It’s only with this kind of intelligent investment that we will be able to do more with less.”

The sale of New Scotland Yard was handled by Jones Lang LaSalle. As the home of the Metropolitan Police Service, Scotland Yard has moved several times before – from Whitehall Place to Great Scotland Yard in 1875, to the Norman Shaw building in 1890 and then on to the current building in 1967. This future move therefore marks a return to nearer its founding location.

As mentioned, the freehold of New Scotland Yard was bought in 2008 for £123.5 million and it would have cost in excess of £50 million to bring the building back up to standard.

The Estate Strategy, launched last year, is available at: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime and covers plans for the entire MOPAC estate including police stations, forensic labs, firing ranges, training grounds, horse and dog centres, offices and custody facilities. It draws on the best examples from both the public and private sectors for space efficiency and modern working. Combined with investment in new and refurbished buildings, this will ensure the Met has a modern, well-equipped and efficient estate suitable for current and future policing.

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Security seminar to provide free advice for businesses in the South East

Empowering businesses to reduce their risk from crime is the aim of a popular annual event which is set to return to the South East of England next month.

Free to attend, the South East Business Crime Conference is taking place at Westminster’s Church House Conference Centre in central London on Thursday 27 November, giving businesses from across the region the opportunity to learn more about reducing their security risk while meeting security suppliers and experiencing live demonstrations of the latest security technology.

The event is due to be formally opened by a representative from the London Mayor’s Office with other speakers including:

• Crime reduction specialist Neil Henson, who will be speaking on the Anti-Social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 and its implications for community safety
• Simon Letchford (of the Metropolitan Police Service), who will be speaking about the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime’s (MOPAC) Business Crime Strategy
• DS Chris Felton (from the City of London Police) who will be discussing cyber crime
• Ken Meanwell (representing the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Crime Prevention Initiatives programme), who’s set to talk about Community Safety Accreditation Schemes
• Event sponsor DISC will be speaking about Business Crime Reporting Systems

The South East Business Crime Conference attracted high level delegates for the 2013 event

The South East Business Crime Conference attracted high level delegates for the 2013 event

Kindly sponsored by both DISC and Facewatch, the event is organised by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) alongside the Metropolitan Police Service and neighbouring forces from Thames Valley, City of London, Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Essex.

Representatives from a range of business sectors

The event makes the move to central London in 2014 to enable easy access for delegates from across the South East region. Feedback from delegates attending last year’s event was positive, with 100% ending the day feeling better informed about the security marketplace and positive that the event had been of practical benefit to them.

Last year’s attendees included representatives from a range of business sectors and sizes in both the public and private sectors, including Waterstones, the University of Portsmouth and the Bank of England.

Alongside the informative conference programme at 2014’s event, a range of exhibitors will also be on hand to provide advice and guidance on the very latest in security services and technology solutions that can help businesses reduce crime.

James Kelly, CEO at the BSIA, commented: “With businesses facing a number of emerging threats such as cyber crime and fraud, the issue of business crime remains at the top of the corporate agenda. Working together with police forces and other local organisations can help organisations reduce the risk they face from crime and anti-social behaviour. Our event aims to bring together the South East business community to provide a wealth of expert advice and facilitate useful networking opportunities for business owners looking to source effective solutions to their security challenges.”

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

Register to attend

Those wishing to attend this year’s South East Business Crime Conference can register to attend by downloading a booking form from the BSIA’s website: http://www.bsia.co.uk/events/P22S11414451

Those wishing to exhibit at this year’s South East Business Crime Conference can also download a booking form from the BSIA’s website: http://bit.ly/1BzLA9J

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Growing risk of online crime threatens London’s business reputation

The capital’s reputation as a safe place in which to do business is under threat unless firms are better prepared against the rising threat of online crime.

A new report from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) argues that, despite efforts from Government and law enforcement, London firms – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – are still largely oblivious to the ever-more sophisticated methods cyber criminals are using to steal valuable information.

Cyber crime costs UK companies alone at least £21 billion per year. The costs of a security breach experienced by smaller organisations are rising, with the average cost of the worst attacks now between £65,000 and £115,000 (up from £35,000 to £65,000 a year ago).

The LCCI report – entitled: ‘Cyber Secure: Making London Business Safe Against Online Crime’ – finds that:

*Over 50% of London firms had experienced a cyber breach
*Cyber crime numbers and costs could be far higher due to widespread under-reporting of online fraud to Action Fraud
*A lack of awareness of cyber threats and the high costs of protection remain significant barriers to firms implementing stronger security measures
*Smaller firms are becoming increasingly targeted by cyber criminals as their systems are generally easier to access and they provide an open door to larger companies via supply chains
*Government initiatives to improve awareness and resilience (and to reduce the costs of security) are welcome, but often use overly complex and technical language which renders them inaccessible to the average SME

The capital’s reputation as a safe place to do business is under threat unless firms becomes more prepared against the rising threat of online crime

The capital’s reputation as a safe place to do business is under threat unless firms becomes more prepared against the rising threat of online crime

Creating a single ‘landing pad’ of resources

The LCCI calls on the Government to create a single ‘landing pad’ of cyber security resources aimed at business, making it simpler for companies to know where to go for advice. The Mayor of London can complement this resource for the capital’s firms through the proposed London Business Resilience Centre.

Despite the Government’s designation of Action Fraud as the first point of contact for cyber crime victims, many businesses are not aware of the service’s existence. Minimising the information required from companies and better promotion would help increase reporting rates for vital intelligence.

More also needs to be done to make it easier for firms to recover the costs of cyber crime, and in particular those acts of criminality perpetrated in the UK.

The Government should encourage Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and banks to use the cover of existing laws to release data that could result in faster and more decisive action being taken against criminals.

Some simple guidance to help firms navigate the civil or criminal legal system would also be of valuable assistance.

Growing menace of cyber crime

Colin Stanbridge, CEO of the LCCI, said: “The growing menace of cyber crime is costing business dear in financial, data and intellectual property loss terms. SMEs often have very limited resources they can allocate to cyber security so the Government and Mayor of London must be more targeted in their approach to reaching smaller firms with helpful information, and focus on providing easy–to-adopt online security solutions.”

Stanbridge continued: “Unless more is done to help smaller firms understand and put in place at least basic security measures, the reputation of London as a major global centre for business is vulnerable. The authorities need to work together to make the process of online protection simpler, quicker, easier and cheaper for the smaller firm such that the health of the economy and the reputation of the capital is not undermined.”

Stephen Greenhalgh (Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime) added: “The advance of technology has shifted criminal activity from the streets to the PC. The LCCI cyber security report paints a determined picture of a strong will from Government and law enforcement to protect businesses, but a confused landscape in terms of fragmented initiatives and policy responses. This report should galvanise the effort and make this confusing landscape easier for the business owner to navigate, from the online SME right through to the multinational. MOPAC looks forward to working with the LCCI to raise awareness and simplify the plethora of initiatives out there, particularly for SMEs, through single hubs like the London Business Crime Resilience Centre.”

City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is also the Police National Co-ordinator for Economic Crime, explained: “Cyber crime is estimated to be costing UK companies at least £21 billion every year, but the reality of the situation is that this huge figure would be even higher if all businesses reported to the authorities when they had fallen victim to an offence committed through the Internet or via other emerging technologies.”

Head also stated: “It’s therefore vitally important that SMEs who fall victim to an online crime contact Action Fraud which, in May, became part of the City of London Police and now sits directly alongside the force’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Working together, they are improving the service provided to small companies whose security has been breached by cyber criminals with, most importantly, the arrival of bulk reporting for industry just around the corner.”

City of London Police Commander Steve Head

City of London Police Commander Steve Head

In conclusion, Head opined: “The past year has also seen a significant rise in crime disseminations to UK forces for investigation and a huge rise in the disruption of criminal enablers. However, it’s only by having the full picture of how cyber crime is targeting industry to hand that law enforcement and Government can put in place the resources and measures required to combat what has very quickly become a massive threat to the sustainability and profitability of companies operating the length and breadth of the land.”

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Body-worn video trials begin in four South London Boroughs

Police officers from four South London Boroughs have begun piloting new body-worn video cameras as part of an ongoing trial carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service.

The London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon and Lewisham are among ten that have been chosen to pilot the new video technology in the capital. This is thought to be the largest trial in the world to date involving the use of such technology by any police force. A total of 500 cameras will be distributed.

The cameras have been arriving at the four London Boroughs over the past two weeks and are being rolled out to officers on two 999 response teams at each Borough over the coming days and weeks.

Body-worn video cameras are being trialled by the MPS across four South London Boroughs

Body-worn video cameras are being trialled by the MPS across four South London Boroughs

The pilot will see some response team officers wearing the cameras and recording footage that can then be used as evidence in police investigations. Officers taking part have been given training and guidance about when cameras are to be used. They will routinely collect evidence in incidents such as domestic abuse and public order, but also for potentially contentious interactions like Stop and Search.

The cameras will not be permanently switched on such that interactions with the public are not unnecessarily impeded, but members of the public will be informed as soon as it’s practicable to do so that they’re being recorded.

Evaluation of the trials by MOPAC and the College of Policing

The findings of the year-long pilot will be evaluated by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the College of Policing before any decision about a future roll-out is made. This will tell the Met if the positive findings of the earlier trials are replicated on a large scale and provide valuable lessons on the best ways in which to take the technology forward.

South London area commander Simon Letchford said: “There are some fantastic opportunities through technology to help us improve our policing service to Londoners, and I see body-worn video at the forefront of this. Video can show an event in a light that would be almost impossible to get across by simply writing it down on paper.”

Letchford added: “We’re hoping the use of video will help us to increase confidence in the police service, allow us to secure better evidence and strengthen our fight against crime. We’re already seeing positive results where domestic abuse convictions have been secured thanks to video when it might not have been possible without that evidence being available.”

In conclusion, Letchford stated: “Our experience in using cameras shows that people are more likely to plead guilty if they know there’s video evidence, which will also help to speed up the criminal justice system.”

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London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime launches new Business Crime Strategy

The London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has launched a new 48-page Business Crime Strategy designed specifically to help protect London-based companies from acts of criminality.

The crime threat in the UK is changing. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated and more crime has moved off the streets and into the online world. MOPAC’s Business Crime Strategy – endorsed by the Metropolitan Police Service, the National Crime Agency and the City of London Police – outlines how each provider will build their capability to tackle fraud and economic crimes.

This is the first strategy of its kind. It represents a ‘Call to Arms’ for the police, businesses, local authorities and others to work together to build confidence and prevent and cut business crime. More than this, it sets out clear, deliverable plans to achieve end goals, with commitments from MOPAC and law enforcement alongside a challenge to businesses themselves.

Read the document in full

London's Mayor Boris Johnson: tackling crime in the capital

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson: tackling crime in the capital

On the Business Crime Strategy, Stephen Head (Commander and National Police Co-ordinator for Economic Crime at the City of London Police) said: “The threat from fraud, particularly cyber-enabled fraud, continues to grow and every section of society is now at risk. It’s therefore increasingly important that the police and businesses work even more closely together to counter this threat. The collaborative approach advocated by MOPAC and highlighted in this strategy is absolutely right if we’re to be successful in continuing to meet this challenge.”

He continued: “As the National Policing Lead for Fraud, the City of London Police will continue to work with MOPAC and others to ensure that London remains one of the safest and most business-friendly cities in the world, with a policing approach that’s fit and appropriate for tackling 21st Century crimes.”

Affording context to the Business Crime Strategy

Further to this, the following information is designed to give context to information included in the Business Crime Strategy…

Since taking responsibility for Action Fraud in April this year, the City of London Police has instigated a programme of work designed to offer an enhanced service for the victims of fraud and cyber crime. Since the end of May 2014, all victims who report to Action Fraud now receive a written update on the status of their report after 28 days, if not before. Action Fraud also provides expert advice and guidance to concerned individuals or businesses.

Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), hosted and run by the City of London Police, is funded by Government to receive reports of fraud and cyber crimes from individuals, SMEs and large corporations. Outside Action Fraud, it also accepts reports of business fraud through a number of organisations including the UK Payments Council and CIFAS.

The combined Action Fraud and NFIB services do not investigate reported crimes of itself. The NFIB uses cutting-edge technology to automatically identify links between crimes and, in quick time, develops and disseminates crime packages for investigation by UK law enforcement agencies. It also proactively disrupts criminality and enriches the UK fraud and cyber threat picture.

During the 2013-2014 financial year, of the totality of fraud and cyber crimes reported into the NFIB no less than 53,556 packages were identified as having viable lines of enquiry and disseminated to UK law enforcement for investigation or intelligence purposes. In the same time period, some 118,000 additional crimes were targeted for disruption while over 805 alerts were disseminated for prevention purposes.

As the MOPAC Business Crime Strategy demonstrates, CIFAS reports on fraud against businesses. These reports often add value to the thousands of Action Fraud packages disseminated for investigation by UK law enforcement.

It’s important to note that police forces accept crimes for investigation based on the availability of viable lines of enquiry. In the past, forces have prioritised Action Fraud reports over CIFAS because of the quality of the data. However, the NFIB is working with forces and CIFAS to improve the quality of all data to create more opportunities for UK law enforcement to accept and investigate reports.

Informing Government and UK law enforcement

Action Fraud and the NFIB use the large number of reported fraud and cyber crimes to help inform Government and UK law enforcement about the scale of the threat that exists at a local, regional and national level in order to help drive their response to the benefit of victims. This has resulted in some police forces committing considerable additional resources to address these emerging threats.

For example, the Metropolitan Police Service is adding further capability to accept fraud and cyber crime packages for investigation which will then provide an enhanced service to victims.

The City of London Police proactively aims to improve the policing response to fraud and cyber crime and ensure that all business victims receive an efficient and effective service, particularly as reporting continues to increase. For instance, the force is creating a system whereby businesses can easily report multiple instances of fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud.

Additionally, the force plays host to a number of fraud teams and specialist units that service business victims of fraud and cyber crime including the insurance industry, the credit and payment industry and intellectual property rights holders. ​​​​​

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