Senior officers in West Midlands Police in Birmingham, presumably with an eye on current fiscal restraints & budget cuts, agreed for a group of offenders to to their community payback work clearing the gardens of one of the police stations in Birmingham.
During their lunch hour the ‘cons’, including burglars, drugs dealers & muggers, were allowed to use the facilities of the police canteen. As a result all the undercover cops based at the station were seen diving out of fire exits, hiding behind pot plants &Ã‚Â looking through issues of the Daily Telegraph with eye-holes cut out in a bid to keep their ID secret from some of the criminals they are likely to be surveilling any time soon.
An un-named detective wrote in Police Review: “We have got a covert observation team who are meant to be incognito. We do not want them coming around the corner straight into people they are supposed to be doing surveillance on next week.”
Another added: “It’s ludicrous Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how are we supposed to move around in criminal circles under cover only for a couple of them to recognise us as dining partners. Whoever came up with this plan needs their head read. They moved freely around the station Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I saw undercover officers trying to avoid being recognised by slipping out of side exits.”
You might have thought that those who sanctioned the idea might have thought about the consequences of letting current & convicted criminals inside an area of the police station where officers relax, and probably discuss their work. Or at least, hearing the complaints afterwards might have had a ‘Doh!’ moment & realised it might not have been the best idea. But no.
Supt Surjeet Manku, of the Queen’s Road police station, said: “The programme was risk assessed and all access to canteen facilities was supervised. While I understand concerns from a few officers I also believe in treating everyone with dignity, fairness and respect.”
Hmmm, not sure how much dignity, fairness & respect was offered to the officers who didn’t want to be face to face with their clients in their own canteen.