A retired cop submitted a formal complaint to Greater Manchester Police to report uniformed officers delivering birthday flowers to a neighbour.
Two uniformed officers turned up at the address in Lowton, near Leigh, in a GMP liveried BMW X3 and delivered flowers to a neighbour, a GMP call-handler, according to the retired officer. He lodged a formal complaint alleging it was an inappropriate use of stretched police resources, he said.
The retired cop, who the MEN has agreed not to name, said that in a response to the complaint, a sergeant told him the flowers were delivered by on-duty road policing unit cops based ten-miles away in Eccles and were to celebrate the birthday of a civilian colleague.
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The sergeant is said to have told the retired officer the complaint would not be forwarded to the Professional Standards Branch of GMP for a formal investigation.
The flowers were delivered to an address in Springmount, Lowton, just after 2.30pm on Saturday March 19. The retired officer, who also lives in Springmount, said he was shocked at what he saw.
He told the MEN: “Two uniformed officers arrived and stopped outside the home of a neighbour, a non-emergency call-taker. She came out of the house and approached the nearside passenger window. It was her birthday the day before. Both the officers remained in the vehicle.They were in conversation and smiling and chatting for about 20 minutes.
“Just before they left, the officer in the front passenger seat handed her a bouquet of flowers. She blew them kisses and they left.
“I rang GMP and made a formal complaint. It was a totally inappropriate use of resources as far as I’m concerned. It wasn’t so long ago that even some burglary victims weren’t getting a visit from GMP. It’s an emergency service, not Interflora.For a few extra quid they could have got a florist to deliver those flowers.
“GMP did very little with my complaint. I got a call from a sergeant who confirmed they were birthday flowers from road policing unit officers based in Eccles. He confirmed they were on duty. He told me he could appreciate how it looked to the public but would not be taking the matter any further. The world has gone mad. That should not be happening. They could have delivered those flowers before or after their tour of duty.
“If that happened for every birthday in GMP they wouldn’t have time for anything else. I’m not jaundiced against GMP. I’ve had a fantastic career. But that was just not necessary.”
The recipient of the flowers declined to comment when approached by the MEN However, another resident of Springmount said: “To be honest, it wouldn’t bother me (if they were delivering flowers). They were only here a few seconds. I’ I’m sure if there was an emergency they would be on their way straight away.”
A spokesman for GMP declined to comment.
The retired officer also reported the matter to his MP, James Grundy. But in a letter the Leigh MP’s office told him: “Given the reason for their visit to their colleague, Mr Grundy does not believe that they were acting inappropriately and it may have been the case that the officers had been on a scheduled break at the time in question.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.