Undercover policeman 'chased HIMSELF' around streets after CCTV operator mistook him for suspect
By Emma Reynolds
Last updated at 7:45 PM on 8th February 2012
An undercover policeman 'chased himself' around the streets for more than 20 minutes after a bungling CCTV operator mistook him for a suspect.
The rookie officer was staking out an area in Sussex hit by a spate of burglaries when he was radioed about someone 'acting suspiciously' in the area.
The CCTV operator directed the policeman in pursuit, telling him he was 'hot on his heels' of the suspect - not realising the person he was watching on camera was the plain-clothed officer himself.
The policeman spent around 20 minutes 'giving chase' before a sergeant came into the CCTV control room and recognised that the 'suspect' was in fact a member of his team.
The error was revealed in police federation magazine Police this week by a senior officer.
He told the magazine: 'The probationary officer was very keen to do any plain-clothed operations and be as proactive as possible.
'On one such occasion in a little market town in Sussex which has suffered a spate of town centre shop break-ins, officers were on plain-clothed foot patrol when a report was received of a suspect male in one of the side roads.
'The CCTV operator soon had the suspect on camera and everywhere he saw the male, the keen PC was on his heels, radioing in to say he was in the same street.
'Every time the man darted in to another side alleyway, the PC was turning immediately into the same alleyway - but every time the CCTV operator asked what he could see, there was no trace.'
The anonymous contributor from Sussex Police - believed to be the PC's sergeant - added: 'With the sergeant's sides aching from laughter, he pointed out to the PC that the operator had been watching him unaware that he was a plain-clothes officer - thus the PC had been chasing himself round the streets.'
A spokesman for Sussex Police said today that it was made aware of the incident after reading Police magazine and admitted they had 'had a laugh' when they read about it - but could give no further details.
That is brilliant...