The Met Police have launched an investigation after officers were caught appearing to flout lockdown restrictions as they enjoyed breakfast inside a busy cafe in Greenwich.
Pictures taken by a passerby showed several police cars parked outside The Chef House Kitchen Cafe in south east London, with officers dining inside despite lockdown banning gatherings and restaurants operating table service.
Brian Jennings, aged 44, said he regularly walks past the eatery, near the Greenwich Patrol Base in Warspite Road, for exercise, and often spots police sitting inside tucking into breakfast.
The IT manager from Blackheath said he was outraged by what he saw, especially after hearing of two members of the public who were fined for going for a walk with a coffee in Derbyshire.
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.”
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: “The Met Police said: ‘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.”
Mr Jennings continued: “‘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 entire country is currently in a national lockdown, meaning all restaurants, pubs and non essential shops must close, whilst the public are advised not to leave their homes without a “reasonable excuse” such as food shopping or exercise.