West Yorkshire Police officers 'lambasted' by man for stopping to get lunch at Subway near Elland Road Stadium in Leeds
The chair of Yorkshire's largest police federation has expressed his frustration after a man filmed and posted a video to the internet of him 'lambasting' two officers for having a lunch break.
The video, which was posted to TikTok has now had more than 107,000 views. It shows two police officers from West Yorkshire Police stopping their patrol car outside Elland Road Stadium in Leeds to get some lunch from the Subway sandwich shop.
The man films himself approaching the male officer who is sat inside his patrol car.
The officer asks the man what his problem is.
The man states: "My problem is not with you eating food, my problem is with you using a police car and going for food. You shouldn't use a police car as a public vehicle. It is wrong, you are using a vehicle to go for food."
The man then approaches a female officer inside the Subway sandwich store. He says: "You are using a police vehicle to eat food. It's not a taxi. You're allowed to eat, you're not allowed to use a police car to eat. It's not a vehicle to use for public use. You're in the wrong.
The female officer replies by stating: "Thank you, have a good day."
Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation said officers do not deserve to be condemned for stopping to get lunch.
He said: "It shouldn’t need saying, but police officers have to eat. They are not robots. They are not super-human. They need time during their shift to stop, rest and refuel – just like the rest of us. And they do not deserve to be condemned for doing so.
"They were roundly lambasted by a member of the public who filmed them, criticised their choice of venue and then put the footage online.
"I am sure these officers would have preferred to go back to the police station, where they could eat in peace and in far greater comfort. But they didn’t, because of their sense of public duty.
"Eating meal breaks in the station would take officers off the streets for longer. It would make them less accessible to the public and less able to respond quickly to any emergency that may occur.
Mr Booth praised the officers for responding to the man both calmly and professionally and said they did exactly the right thing. He said officers are entitled to a 45 minute break for every eight-hour shift, but said most do not get anything like that and that if an emergency happens, they respond immediately.
He said: "They deserve a break and they deserve to go about their dues without having a camera shoved in their face and being criticised. It shouldn’t need saying, but hunger leads to fatigue, and fatigue leads to mistakes being made. I don’t want hungry officers driving cars, going into volatile situations and making life-and-death decisions. We don’t want tired officers taking risks.
"If you want to criticise an officer for taking a break, perhaps you should first ask yourself: how long has this person been on duty? What have they seen today? What were they doing 10 minutes earlier?
"My members have never been busier. We’ve got a lively public celebrating the Euros. We are opening up, and we are under demand. Let officers rest and refuel so they can do the job you want them to do to the best of their abilities."