- £68,000 is more than twice the initial estimate for moving the sign
- Metropolitan Police is supposed to be making £500 million cuts
- Moving the sign aimed to ‘reduce pedestrian conflict’ on the pavement
- The sign is refurbished every 15 years at the cost of £7,000
The Metropolitan Police has come under fire for spending £68,000 moving New Scotland Yard’s world-famous revolving sign – just 15 yards.
The move comes as the force, which has to make £500 million of savings by 2015, plans to sell the building anyway.
The staggering sum – the equivalent starting salary of two constables – is understood to be more than twice the initial estimate for the work.
The work went ahead last spring as part of a revamp of the HQ, despite senior Met officials expressing concerns about the negative reaction it might provoke.
The force even prepared responses to questions such as: ‘Isn’t this a waste of money?’
Details of the spending were uncovered by The Mail on Sunday using Freedom of Information laws.
The revolving sign was installed outside New Scotland Yard in 1968 after the Metropolitan Police moved its headquarters from the Victoria Embankment.
It was created by the late graphic designer Edward Wright who taught at the Royal College of Art. He also designed the foundation stone for Churchill College, Cambridge.
The sign, which revolves 14,000 times every day, is refurbished every 15 years at a cost of £7,000.
Brian Paddick, a former Met deputy assistant commissioner, said: ‘Bearing in mind that the force has got to make cuts, they could have saved money on redesigning a building that they’re not going to use any more and spending £68,000 on moving the sign.’
A TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman added: ‘It’s utterly astonishing that the Met would waste so much taxpayers’ money moving a sign just a few metres.
‘It’s difficult to believe this was actually allowed to happen.’
The redevelopment comes after the Met purchased New Scotland Yard for £120million after 41 years of renting.
Council officials gave the green light to proposals to demolish an unsightly derelict Italian restaurant and overhaul the building’s frontage, including moving the sign.
The changes were aimed to ‘reduce pedestrian conflict’ over the narrow and busy pavement outside the entrance.
Source: Mail on line.