Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened New Scotland Yard – the Metropolitan Police Service headquarters on Victoria Embankment.
In the heart of Westminster and close to the founding location of the Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard has undergone a full refit and security upgrade. The glass pavilion now provides a more transparent entrance to the building and the spinning sign taking pride of place on the embankment of the Thames.
The new HQ building has been designed by world renowned architects AHMM and engineered by Arup, following a RIBA design competition to find the most suitable and financially viable proposal for the building. It has been built by contractors BAM.
As part of the biggest programme of transformation in the Met’s history, the sale of the outdated New Scotland Yard, now to be known as 10 Broadway, for £370m is helping to modernise and streamline London’s police service, saving money, keeping officer numbers high and equipping them with the latest technology to enable them to be more effective, more mobile and more accountable. The relocation to the slimmed down new premises on the Victoria Embankment will save an additional £6m a year in running costs.
Upon arrival, on Thursday 13th July The Queen and The Duke were greeted by Commissioner Cressida Dick and Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey. The Royal Party proceeded past a display of vintage Metropolitan Police vehicles and two police horses into the building where they were able to view a selection of historical items from the Met’s archive, including a WWII uniform of a female PC and an operational order for the Coronation.
After viewing plans of the new building Her Majesty and His Royal Highness watched a demonstration of a bomb disposal robot by the Met’s Explosives Officers. The Queen and Prince Philip then moved to the 8th floor of the building, where they met with officers and staff from across the organisation, demonstrating “A day in the life of the Met”, and the different roles staff perform to keep London safe on a daily basis. The group included search dogs and staff in operational roles – including a dog handler, forensic specialist and a special constable, who were able to show Her Majesty and His Royal Highness some of the different tools they use to do their jobs.
The Royal Party also then had a chance to step out onto the balcony of New Scotland Yard, to view the Thames and Westminster skyline.
During their visit The Queen and The Duke attended a brief reception for staff, bravery award winners, officers and partner organisations before returning to the ground floor where The Queen unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the building, and received a posy from Volunteer Police Cadet Amy Harvey, Junior Cadet of the Year in Barking & Dagenham Borough, before departing.
This is the second New Scotland Yard that The Queen has officially opened. On 17 May 1967 The Queen, accompanied by The Duke opened New Scotland Yard in ‘Broadway’ with then Commissioner Joseph Simpson. During the visit The Queen unveiled a newly commissioned Coat of Arms incorporating the Royal Insignia and handed over the Standard of the Metropolitan Police to a Bearer party.
Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “On behalf of the Met I am very grateful to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh for opening our new headquarters today. Of course, this event was originally planned for the day after the terrible Westminster attacks. Since then London has had to cope with a number of tragic events and we appreciate the support of many, including the Royal Family, during these difficult times.
“We are so pleased to be able to celebrate an important moment in the Metropolitan Police’s history today with The Queen and Prince Philip. This new building, in the heart of Westminster and close to the Met’s founding location, incorporates the proud past, present and future of policing in the Capital.”
Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden said: “Today is a special day for the Metropolitan Police Service, which has been protecting our capital city since 1829, working tirelessly every day to keep Londoners safe. The force steps into a new headquarters, just as a new Commissioner takes the reins. The new location for New Scotland Yard, which began life as an annex to the original New Scotland Yard in the 1930s, returns the Met to the heart of Westminster in a slimmed-down, more streamlined, more efficient and better-resourced building fit for the 21st century. It is a fitting home for our world-renowned police service, and I hope it will serve the Met well for many years to come.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Officers and staff from the Metropolitan Police do absolutely essential work every day keeping Londoners safe and our capital city secure, with bravery and professionalism. These modern and well-designed facilities will help support our officers as they continue to tackle the changing nature of crime in our society, now and in the future. I was delighted to visit New Scotland Yard and see it officially opened today.”
Paul Monaghan AHMM said: “We have been privileged to design and deliver a major civic building on this scale. Our New Scotland Yard preserves and showcases elements unique to the heritage of the Metropolitan Police whilst creating a robust headquarters building, fit for the 21st century in the heart of Westminster.”