Police chief encourages officers to take breaks in public to increase visibility in South Yorkshire

New Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley
New Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley
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A South Yorkshire police chief is encouraging his officers to take breaks in public while on shift to increase visibility.

Assistant chief constable David Hartley said he encourages all officers, including armed ones, to take refreshments with the public.

It comes after eight police officers in Devon were pictured relaxing in the sun with tea and bacon sandwiches for 45 minutes while on shift.

ACC Hartley tweeted: "I encourage all our officers, including armed, to take refreshments with the public, if you see one, just have a chat. #TeamSpirit."

He is now considering having full briefings in coffee shop to increase presence further.

ACC Hartley tweeted: "If any coffee shop in South Yorks can host up to 20 cops between 7 and 7.30am, I will buy the coffee (at my expense) and join them."

Members of the public criticised the officers in Plymouth, in Devon, who had tea and bacon sandwiches during their 45-minutes break while on shift last week.

But Devon and Cornwall Chief Superintendent David Thorne said on occasions officers take breaks in commercial establishments so they are visible to the public.

Their radios remain on and they are ready for immediate deployment, he added.