THAMES Valley Police has spent more than £11 million of taxpayer money on a new Reading base it will not move into until at least a year after it was supposed to.

The force is spending an average of £15,000 a month keeping the lights on at its crumbling town centre headquarters on Castle Street, in what has been dubbed as ‘reckless spending’ by a former Reading police officer.

And the Taxpayers Alliance has hit out at TVP saying the force should instead focus on funding frontline forces.

READ MORE: Reading Police Station relocation delayed after builders go bust

The Reading branch of Thames Valley Police (TVP) was due to move to Atlantic House on Imperial Way, near Green Park, in March 2022.

However, the refurbishment company overseeing the relocation, Midas Group, went into administration in February before the new base was ready to move into.

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson told the Chronicle the force will remain at Reading Police Station, on Castle Street, until Atlantic House is ready.


Atlantic House. Image via Google

Atlantic House. Image via Google


TVP had remained quiet about when officers would eventually move into Atlantic House, but now an investigation by the Chronicle can reveal the force is expected to complete its move by quarter three (July - September) 2023.

The date was revealed as part of a response to a Freedom of Information request by the Chronicle, which also showed:

  • Thames Valley Police paid £8,250,000 for Atlantic House in July 2019
  • From the date of purchase until January 1, 2022, TVP has spent £2.999 million refurbishing the property.

Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Thames Valley Police has been caught red-handed wasting taxpayers' cash.

READ MORE: Why are Thames Valley Police leaving Reading town centre?

"Forces should not be throwing yet more money at a disastrous move to a costly new HQ, all while hiking the police precept.

"Thames Valley Police need to cut their losses and instead focus funds on frontline policing.”


Reading Police Station

Reading Police Station


Back in June 2021, a Thames Valley Police spokesperson said Reading Police Station was ‘in a poor state of repair’, ‘too large’ and ‘expensive to run'.

The Chronicle’s investigation also revealed the cost of running Reading Police Station to the taxpayer.

  • In 2021, TVP spent £182,100 on water, gas and electricity at Reading Police Station, giving an average monthly spend of £15,175
  • In January 2022, TVP spent £22,500 on these same utilities.

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A former Reading-based police officer, who did not want to be named, told the Chronicle: “In the past, I have witnessed some reckless spending by Thames Valley Police but this incompetent management of vast amounts of residents' money is far beyond anything I could have even imagined.

“I am wondering how on earth this project was managed so badly to result in so much wasted cash and time.

“It's truly shocking and embarrassing for the force.”

Thames Valley Police declined to comment.