The Met has launched its biggest ever charity event to ensure thousands of children across the capital receive a special Christmas present this year.
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was joined by poster competition winner Lavinia Zimarino, aged 10 and from Sutton, to get the appeal underway by turning on the Christmas tree lights outside New Scotland Yard for the first time, at the Met's new HQ.
The Met's Christmas Tree Project has been an annual event since 2012, spreading its cheer across London with trees being lit up by officers outside police stations and in other public places in all of London's 32 boroughs to ensure more children in need have a present delivered to them in time for Christmas Day.
Lavinia's police sleigh and Christmas tree poster design was chosen from over 4,000 entries from children across London.
Last year's Christmas tree was placed outside Hyde Park police station while the Met moved to its new home on the Victoria Embankment.
The event resulted in 17,016 gifts being given to children across London and over £20,000 was donated on JustGiving by 493 supporters to go towards presents for children who might not ordinarily get one.
The lights were turned on at 17:30hrs on Tuesday, 14 November, outside New Scotland Yard.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “At this time of giving and festivities, we have the opportunity to spread a little joy to those children less fortunate and in care.
“Since our Christmas Tree appeal in 2012, we have seen its success grow year after year. The generosity and goodwill of officers, staff and fellow Londoners, will see the presents delivered to children and young people in care this Christmas.
“My deepest thanks go to all those who donate.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Christmas is a time for giving, and the Met's Christmas Tree appeal offers a chance to make a real difference to young and vulnerable Londoners in care.
“An incredible amount of money was raised last year with thousands of young people across the capital receiving gifts, and I know Londoners will be just as generous this year. I urge everyone to get involved and let these children know we are thinking of them at Christmas."
How you can give a gift:
Londoners are encouraged to get behind the campaign and give a gift by taking a tagged ribbon from a tree on your borough or at New Scotland Yard, and following the instructions on the tag.
You can also visit the online virtual Met Christmas tree at www.met.police.uk/christmastree
In addition, this year members of the public can also donate money if they are unable to buy a gift by visiting the Just Giving webpage at: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/saferlondon/metxmastree
The gifts will be for children aged from one-week to 17-years-old and benefit those in need across all London boroughs. The children are currently being cared for by foster parents, in residential care homes, in refuges, in hospitals, or are children from low income families.
The suggested spend for gifts this year is no more than £20.
All gifts will be delivered to the children before Christmas Day.