Near-empty Hampstead police station costs more than �90,000 a year to run

Near-empty Hampstead police station is more expensive to run than two of the borough’s busiest police hubs, the Ham&High can reveal.

The Grade-II listed station, which is vacant but for a handful of community police, ran up a �91,711 bill for the taxpayer over the last year. The money could pay for more than four frontline police officers.

Kentish Town station – a police nerve centre with intelligence, forensic and specialist units – cost �81,000 in heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance and security measures over the same period from March 2011 to March this year.

West Hampstead station, a parade ground which is home to the borough’s mounted officers and safer transport team, runs at about a third of the price of the Hampstead hub.

Community campaigners have accused the Metropolitan Police of running the Hampstead base into the ground. They also claim the force’s top police have withdrawn units from the station and have neglected to maintain the Rosslyn Hill building.

William Wellbank, who chairs the Hampstead residents panel for policing, said: “The building has not been refurbished or looked after so therefore the costs are relatively high. It’s one of those things where they run the place down and then say, ‘It’s not fit for purpose.’”

He called on the police to reverse their policy of emptying the station, arguing it would be a more suitable base than Holborn – Camden Police’s headquarters.

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“Hampstead station is well situated compared to Holborn, which is an ivory tower right on the border of the borough and next to some of the most expensive real estate in London.”

Holborn, used by the CID and missing persons unit, cost �299,195 to run between from March 2011-2012.

Hampstead police station has staved off closure in the past. But Borough Commander John Sutherland warned campaigners at a meeting last month that there would have to be an “honest conversation” about its future.

Chief Supt Sutherland said: “The figures raise the question of whether those costs are sustainable in the current financial climate and that will not come as a surprise to anyone.

“No decision has been finalised, genuinely, but there are going to be some enormously hard choices to be made.”

A police spokesman said that the police station had been valued but refused to reveal its worth.

She added that the Met had never put the police station up for sale and there were no immediate plans to do so.

Discussions between Met bosses and the community about alternative uses for the station are taking place behind the scenes.