Nine hypocritical Metropolitan Police officers have been fined £200 each after they were spotted by the public ‘flouting’ coronavirus curbs while tucking into breakfast together inside a London café during lockdown, it was revealed today.
A passer-by spotted several squad cars outside The Chef House Kitchen in Woolwich and took a photograph of the policemen and women tucking into their breakfasts despite a nationwide ban on indoor dining.
The images caused outrage as Britain sits in the middle of a third national lockdown where up to 1,600 people are dying every day. There was also anger because Scotland Yard is in the midst of a crisis because about 1,700 Metropolitan Police staff are off sick or self-isolating.
Following an investigation into the incident on January 9, it was determined that the officers involved should be issued with fixed penalty notices to the value of £200 each.
Chief Superintendent Rob Atkin, South East BCU Commander, said: ‘Police officers are tasked with enforcing the legislation that has been introduced to stop the spread of the virus and the public rightly expect that they will set an example through their own actions.
‘It is disappointing that on this occasion, these officers have fallen short of that expectation. It is right that they will pay a financial penalty and that they will be asked to reflect on their choices.’
A passer-by caught several squad cars outside The Chef House Kitchen while officers sat inside at 9am, despite a ban on gatherings and table service. Nine officers have been fined £200 each
Brian Jennings, 44, regularly walks past the cafe, near the Greenwich Patrol Base in south east London for exercise and saw them sitting inside eating
The group were spotted 11 days ago as their boss Cressida Dick vowed to crack down harder on lockdown flouters. The Met Commissioner said it was inconceivable that people didn’t the rules by now.
But her own officers were shamed by Brian Jennings, 44, regularly walks past the cafe, near the Greenwich Patrol Base in south east London for exercise and saw them sitting inside eating.
The IT manager from Blackheath said he was outraged by the site after reading of members of the public who fined for going for a walk with a coffee.
He said: ‘There’s a large police depot on the Thames riverside near me. I walk past it a few times a week because it’s a nice quiet place to take exercise.
‘On the neighbouring industrial estate there’s a cafe. We noticed in the first lockdown and then we noticed it again today that, regularly, first thing in the morning there will be half a dozen squad cars outside and every table full of police officers having breakfast in there.
‘It’s not a one off it’s been going on for a few months. You read about people getting fined in the papers and it seems hypocritical as there [looks like there is little] social distancing in the cafe.
It comes after police have cracked down harder on rule breaking. Pictured: Kensington Palace Gardens in London
‘It’s a public cafe and it’s open and its serving table service in lockdown – it is not good.
‘It’s about as bad as it gets in the UK with a virus and it’s insensitive and stupid. I think it’s really bad.’
He added: ‘I find the regular, continued flouting of social distancing, and lockdown regulations by the police hypocritical and foolish at this time when the infection rates in Greenwich Borough are among the highest in the UK.’#
The Chef House Kitchen refused to comment on the case.
The Met Police said at the time: ‘We are aware of the images. A local investigation is underway to identify the officers and establish the full circumstances.
‘Our officers are responsible for enforcing Covid related legislation and it is important that any allegations of breaches by our own staff are properly investigated and the appropriate action taken.’