Police officers have been lambasted for playing a game to make towers out of police hats while knife crime soars across the UK.
Officers around the country were criticized for boasting online about who could make the tallest tower out of their hats by balancing them on their heads.
Police units from Cambridge, Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Bedfordshire posted on their official Twitter accounts photographs of police officers posing with stacks of helmets and hats on them.
An officer grins wearing different pieces of headgear
Critics have said that the timing of the hat-stack craze is highly insensitive given that knife crime is at its highest level since records began.
One user wrote on Twitter: ‘Instead of messing around in the station, how about resolving some crime?’
Another suggested the forces were not making adequate use of their time by asking: ‘Busy then?’
In one image, a fully-kitted police officer can be seen with two helmets and four hats stacked on his head while another grins wearing different pieces of headgear.
Another image shows a stack of white and black police hats with a police officer sat beside them
Another image shows a stack of white and black police hats with a police officer sat beside them.
Ex-Det Chief Insp Mick Neville told The Sun: ‘Forces should be concentrating on reducing crime — not building towers of hats.’
‘It’s important to have light-hearted moments to cope with the darkness of the job, but they should be kept private.’
There were 43,516 knife crime offences in the year since March 2019, according to the Home Office.
This figure marks an 80% increase from the low-point in the year ending March 2014, when there were only 23,945 offences.
Out of the 44 police forces, a staggering 43 recorded a rise in knife crime since 2011. These figures do not include Greater Manchester Police.
The new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that new 20,000 police officers in England and Wales will begin in the next few weeks.