Today's award goes to the operator of a closed-circuit television security camera in England. The Telegraph reports:
An undercover police officer "chased himself round the streets" for 20 minutes after a CCTV operator mistook him for [a] suspect.
. . .
The details of the operation[al] blunder were leaked to Police magazine, which is published by the Police Federation, this week by a senior officer who witnessed the embarrassing incident.
Sussex police were unable to provide further details of the incident, the officers involved or where it occurred.
The anonymous officer, believed to be the PC's [police constable's] sergeant, told the monthly magazine: "An officer who joined a team in Sussex as a new probationary officer was soon very keen to do any plain-clothes operations and be as proactive as possible.
"He would be waiting at the end of his shift hoping to be unleashed for a further couple of hours of plain-clothes duties.
"On one such occasion in a little market town in Sussex which has suffered a spate of town centre shop break-ins, officers were on plain-clothed foot patrol when a report was received of a suspect male in one of the side roads.”
"The CCTV operator soon had the suspect on camera and everywhere he saw the male the keen PC was on his heels – radioing in to say he was in the same street.”
He added: "Every time the man darted in to another side alleyway, the PC was turning immediately into the same alleyway, but every time the CCTV operator asked what he could see there was no trace."
It was at this point that the sergeant entered the control room where he recognised the junior officer.
"With the sergeant's sides aching from laughter he pointed out to the PC that the operator had been watching him unaware that he was a plain-clothes officer – thus the PC had been chasing himself round the streets."
There's more at the link.
"The UK has more CCTV cameras per capita than any European country" - but if this is an example of how well they use them, they may as well rip them all out, for all the good they're doing!