CCTV operator error has cop chasing himself

A CCTV operator tells a policeman he sees a man behaving suspiciously. The policeman goes in hot pursuit. Unfortunately, the man behaving suspiciously is actually the policeman.

Technology can only be as good as the hands and eyes into which it is placed. Those hands and eyes can sometimes be overly aggressive or simply inexact.

Please imagine, then, how those hands and eyes felt when they belonged to a CCTV operator who directed a policeman to give chase to a suspicious person, possibly a burglar.

The way the Telegraph casts its eye on the story, a policeman patrolling on foot in the South of England received a message from a CCTV operator that a suspected burglar was lurking in his vicinity.

Perhaps it was hard to see what was out there. Or who. After all, CCTVs, like the one shown here, aren't known for their crisp image quality. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

That vicinity had endured a few recent burglaries, so the policeman decided to give chase, as directed by the CCTV operator. The latter reportedly kept telling the policeman that he was close, that he should keep going.

It was only after 20 minutes of this cat and mouse that both parties realized it was cat and cat.

For the suspicious-looking individual was the policeman himself, who happened to be undercover at the time. This only came to light when another officer walked into the control room and recognized him on camera.

This story was leaked to a police magazine and related with some glee.

Indeed, a spokesman for the Sussex police told the Telegraph: "Policing is often a serious business, so we all enjoy moments of light relief."

There will be those who will accuse these police operatives of stupidity. They might wonder that the CCTV operator didn't actually see the undercover policeman talking into his little microphone.

That may be unkind. If one cannot laugh at one's errors, one cannot surely get anything right. In this case, it was merely mistaken-- or rather unknown-- identity.

It is surely better that policemen chase themselves than that they chase those who have done nothing wrong. Which is something they do manage to do on occasion.

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