HC Deb 15 November 1985 vol 86 cc317-8W
Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) why he did not give a substantive reply to the question from the hon. member for Leyton regarding certain Metropolitan police expenditure to which an interim reply was given on 9 July, Official Report, column 385; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what was, for each year since 1979, the amount spent by the Metropolitan police on (a) police control and command suites, (b) the fittings of senior officers' accommodation and (c) chauffeur-driven cars.

Mr. Giles Shaw

I very much regret the delay in replying to the hon. Member's earlier question. Records are not kept by the Metropolitan police in a form which enables the information requested (in so far as it is available) to be readily identified and it was necessary to carry out a special exercise to compile it. The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that the available information is as follows:

Command and control suites Table A below gives detail of the amounts spent in each financial year since 1979–80 on the building and furnishing of Metropolitan police command and control suites at New Scotland Yard and in divisions. The computerised command and control system will be vital to the effective functioning of the force since, when fully operational, it will handle all incoming messages and all operational instructions to patrolling officers and will be in continual use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It was therefore necessary to provide a working environment which would assist the operators to maintain maximum alertness; and this is reflected in the design and standard of finish of the equipment and furniture in the suites, which was decided upon only after considerable research. Work on the 75 divisional suites is not yet completed: the costs shown relate to the central complex at New Scotland Yard, 22 completed divisional suites and 6 partially completed suites.

Furnishing costs of senior officers' accommodation Separate records are not kept by the Metropolitan police of the annual furnishing costs incurred in fitting out the accommodation of senior officers (ie officers of the rank of commander and above, and their civil staff equivalents). Table B below set out for each rank and grade of senior officer an estimate, based on the currently approved scale of issue of furnishings, which illustrates the typical cost of fitting out new accommodation for such an officer. Costs of this order are seldom incurred in practice because an officer will generally take over the existing accommodation and furnishing used by his or her predecessor. The furnishings of most senior officers' rooms have not changed for a number of years; and some are furnished with items acquired by the force many years ago, the cost of which is no longer known.

Chauffeur-driven cars Table C below shows the total estimated cost to the Metropolitan police of chauffeur-driven cars and their drivers in each year since 1979. These cars are not for the exclusive use of those to whom they are primarily assigned but are available for use by other staff. The figures shown in the table relate to total use of the vehicles and drivers and it is not possible to distinguish between the costs applicable to different uses. A special review of the use of staff cars is in progress.

Table A
Expenditure on Metropolitan Police Command and Control Suites, 1979–80—1984–85
1979–80 1980–81 1981–82
Central command complex
Consoles, clocks and furniture 70 30 60
Associated building work 120 1,410 1,315
Divisional complexes
Consoles, clocks and furniture
Associated building work 101
1982–83 1983–84 1984–85
Central command complex
Consoles, clocks and furniture 320 172 23
Associated building work 165 71
Divisional complexes
Consoles, clocks and furniture 10 7 279
Associated building work 112 701 712

Table B

Estimate of typical cost of furnishing new accommodation for senior

Metropolitan police officers

Prices at August 1985, excluding VAT
Commissioner 10,055
Deputy commissioner 7,606
Assistant commissioner 5,868
Deputy assistant commissioner 3,125
Commander 1,209
Civil Staff
Receiver 7,606
Deputy receiver 5,868
Grade 5 3,125
Grade 6 1,916
Principal (and equivalents) 1,209

Table C

Estimated expenditure on Metropolitan police chauffeur-driven cars

and drivers 1979–80—1984–85

£ million
1979–80 1.363
1980–81 1.714
1981–82 1.812
1982–83 2.080
1983–84 2.302
1984–85 2.386