Pictured: Nine police officers fined for eating at cafe in breach of Covid rules

Nine police officers have each been fined £200 for breaking Covid lockdown restrictions after being caught eating inside a cafe whilst on duty.

The officers were photographed by a member of the public as they dined at The Chef House Kitchen in Greenwich, south east London on Saturday, Jan 9.

Pictures showed several officers sitting together at tables despite rules banning such gatherings and restaurants from allowing customers to sit in.

A Met Police spokesperson said: "Nine Metropolitan Police officers have been fined for breaching Covid-19 legislation while on duty.

"Photos emerged online earlier this month which appeared to show a group of uniformed officers from the South East Basic Command Unit dining in a local cafe.

"Following an investigation, it was determined that the officers involved should be issued with fixed penalty notices to the value of £200 each."

The officers were criticised by the passer-by as "hypocritical" after reading about instances of members of the public being issued fines.

Chief Superintendent Rob Atkin said: "Police officers are tasked with enforcing the legislation that has been introduced to stop the spread of the virus and the public rightly expect that they will set an example through their own actions.

"It is disappointing that on this occasion, these officers have fallen short of that expectation.

"It is right that they will pay a financial penalty and that they will be asked to reflect on their choices."

Brian Jennings, 44, regularly walks past the cafe, near the Greenwich Patrol Base, in Warspite Road south east London, for exercise and says he saw officers sitting inside several times.

He did not want to comment on the outcome this morning but confirmed the cafe now appears to be closed.

At the time of the incident, the IT manager, of Blackheath, also south east London, 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.

"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’s no attempt at social distancing in the cafe.

"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."