Police officers posing as burglars

Cities and local governments are always looking for ways to keep citizens safer and increase public safety. A police department in the UK has come up with one of the more innovative ways to make people aware of security and safety. The department in...


Cities and local governments are always looking for ways to keep citizens safer and increase public safety. A police department in the UK has come up with one of the more innovative ways to make people aware of security and safety. The department in Cheshire is having its officers pose as burglars at night trying to break into homes and cars. If they find an open window or door the officers are waking residents and alerting them of the security risk.

The police department points out that 40 percent of all burglars get into homes through unlocked windows and doors. Called Operation Golden, the public safety initiative’s goal is to cut burglary rates and keep citizens and their property secure. They are specifically trying to stop the type of burglars looking for easy pickings by sneaking around through backyards and alleys looking for unlocked doors or windows.

Officers in Cheshire will be playing the role of burglar when most burglars are active – 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The inspector heading up Operation Golden believes most residents will be grateful for the heads-up. Of course, not everyone thinks this public safety strategy is a good idea. Some people have pointed out that this role playing could cause confusion and unnecessarily scare some people.

This is an interesting low-tech approach to public safety and security. And it is especially interesting in the UK where so much of the security camera system use has been pioneered. Here in the U.S. as more and more cities are implementing security surveillance cameras police departments are talking about the effectiveness of the technology. Many are saying that security cameras on the front end are a great deterrent and give officers more eyes in the field. On the back end the cameras can provide them with excellent investigative and forensic information.

And cities are finding that the cameras go beyond public safety and security. The cameras can help allocate resources by letting municipal departments know where manpower or maintenance is needed. Security cameras can help cities run better and more efficiently.

It will be interesting to see how Operation Golden ultimately rolls out and how effective it is in literally “waking up” the public about potential security problems and risks. According to the news article one woman in East Sussex was apparently quite surprised when she found an officer climbing in though her window.

Interestingly enough, one of the UK’s most prolific burglars, who burglarized or robbed a house a day for four years, was a burglar posing as a police officer. He would talk his way into people’s homes by wearing a uniform and telling them he was the police. Guess the Cheshire police think turnabout is fair play.

--PSW