HAMPSHIRE police has spent more than £600,000 on a building it bought to be its new headquarters but has stood empty for four years.
The Hampshire Police Authority gave the go-ahead for the purchase of Alpha Park near Chandlers Ford in Eastleigh for £9.2m in 2008.
But for more than four years the building has stood empty and a Freedom of Information request by the BBC has revealed an extra £638,379 has been spent keeping the building running.
John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation - which represents rank and file officers, said: ‘This has been an unnecessary embarrassment for many years. Many of my members will see this £600,000 as money down the drain that could have been better spent on protecting officers’ posts.’
A Hampshire Police spokesman said the site was bought in a ‘dramatically different economic climate’.
The FOI revealed the force has incurred costs include £260,000 on business rates, almost £300,000 on site security and £50,000 on repairs and maintenance.
A Hampshire Police spokeswoman said the refurbishment of the building, which will now be used as an operational police campus, is to be completed by November 2014.
It will contain services including a vehicle workshop, force inquiry centre and the Information Technology department.
The spokeswoman said: ‘The Audit Commission scrutinised the police authority’s decision to purchase Alpha Park and concluded the decision to buy Alpha Park was not unreasonable.
‘During the period of economic change, feasibility studies were carried out to determine the best way of developing Alpha Park, to ensure it was cost effective.
‘Our aim has always remained the same - to use Alpha Park in the best way to equip us as a police force to deliver excellent service to the public.’
Instead of housing the force headquarters at Alpha Park, a new building at Mottisfont Court in Winchester has been brought for £1.5m.
Refurbishment work is due to start in 2013 with the completion date set for the end of 2013.