A man who appeared to be a Metropolitan Police officer was seen disguised as a Deliveroo rider in London this weekend while carrying out police work.
The photograph, which was shared on Twitter and has received almost 2.1K retweets, shows the man wearing a jacket worn by cyclists and drivers working for the food delivery company Deliveroo. The man also appears to be wearing a police radio and a body-cam, and standing next to a police van and a bike.
The photo was taken by VICE writer Simon Doherty, who spotted the man while sitting outside Pret a Manger in Finsbury Park, north London this weekend.
Doherty didn’t think anything of the Deliveroo rider until a police van pulled up and officers began communicating with the man in the jacket.
“I noticed that the ‘Deliveroo rider’ was talking into a radio and to the police,” Doherty said. “Then I realised it was a police officer, not a Deliveroo guy.”
Doherty also claims he saw the man in the Deliveroo jacket tell two young men to stop swearing.
Deliveroo initially declined to comment when approached by VICE News. It later said: “The MET police have come to us on occasions to support with very specific operations. As the general public would expect, we will support the authorities in tackling crime where we can."
This isn’t the first example of police offers using the Deliveroo uniform on duty. In 2018, the Guardian revealed that police officers were posing as Deliveroo drivers as part of a covert operation to combat surging moped crimes, mainly in London. At the time, the Met Police said it could not “confirm or deny” the operation.
In August, popular Twitter account @Imjustbait shared a video of what appears to be a group of police officers, one of whom is dressed in a Deliveroo cycling top. The police officer jokes, “It’s my second job, innit.”
VICE News approached the Metropolitan Police for comment. A spokesperson said: “For many years, police officers have carried out certain duties and operational activity in 'plain clothes' wearing clothing other than standard police uniform. This is clearly to enable police officers to blend in with the wider public while targeting criminals.
“We are aware of images showing an officer from the Met's Central North BCU working in 'Deliveroo' apparel,” they continued. “This was part of plain clothes activity, but not a covert operation, and the officer's radio and body worn video equipment are visible. In the images, he has identified himself as a Police Officer and is evidently dealing with a situation.”
Update 16/09/20: This piece was updated with a comment from Deliveroo and the Met Police.