Latte-sipping police told not to drink and dwellHow presumptuous to assume that they are on a break. Police officers may be having meetings to discuss work. Officers may be from different units and exchanging information. There may not be enough meeting facilities to accommodate networking opportunities.
Geesche Jacobsen Crime Editor
February 18, 2009
HARD-DRINKING police officers have fallen foul of their chief. However, it's not alcohol that is getting them into trouble, but coffee.
In a memo to the State Crime Command, the Chief Superintendent, Ken McKay, has told his 2600 officers to stop frequenting nearby cafes for long coffee breaks.
Officers had been taking breaks lasting up to an hour, Chief Superintendent McKay said yesterday.
"It's a waste of time … It's a waste of taxpayers' money."
And, he said, it created the wrong perception about police officers, who should be doing other things. "I believe I know where the support from the public will come from," he said.
The State Crime Command is located in a modern office building in Parramatta, with at least four coffee shops nearby, including one next door.
But the presence of so many officers on the footpaths outside the building posed a security risk, he said. It exposed them to anyone who drives by.
He was also concerned that "cops can't help themselves. They like chatting about the job they're doing." Staff were paid to work, not have coffee breaks, the head of the organised crime directorate said.
There were excellent coffee facilities inside the building, he said, adding the problem did not apply to all officers. "It's only a few people. [But you need to] get the message out to anyone about your expectations."
He added, half joking, that cigarette breaks were next on his hit list. The Police Association yesterday declined to comment on the issue.
What sort of message is the Chief Superintendent giving to the public, denying police officers from doing their job properly?