The prime town centre site has prompted interest from a string of bidders who want to turn it into a residential development.
But a series of frustrating delays mean police are now seeking pre-sale outline planning permission themselves, the T&C can reveal.
Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway put Greyfriars on the market in July last year, saying it was no longer fit for purpose.
She promised police would receive “maximum benefit” from the sale, with the cash used to replace their temporary custody suite at Kempston.
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This week Commissioner Holloway said: “We have been working with a shortlist of private bidders as well as an interested party from the public sector to agree a final price after a sealed bids process. As a result of delays experienced, I have insisted we progress with outline planning permission as this is likely to achieve the highest price.”