Among the constabulary’s hierarchy, faced with a spate of burglaries, it was probably seen as ‘innovative policing’.
Officers were armed with megaphones and told to bark warnings at homeowners who left doors and windows open during warm weather.
Police community support officers and constables took to the streets of Northampton and began bellowing: ‘This is the police. Shut your windows and lock your doors. Don’t let burglars in.’
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When crime figures began to drop, Northamptonshire police gave themselves a pat on the back.
But homeowners were less congratulatory. They are furious about the ‘intrusive and patronising’ policy, which even allowed officers to enter homes where doors had been left ajar.
Residents have a different view as to why crime figures have improved – because, for once, there are patrols in the area and not because of the amplified orders.
Anthony Whitehead, 59, described the idea as ‘bizarre’. ‘The sound of the megaphone scares old people and it will alert the burglars to where the police are so they can avoid them,’ he said. ‘They should do some proper police work.’
Grandmother Shirley Partridge, 75, said: ‘I don’t want police officers coming into my house and bellowing at me with a megaphone. All they are doing is setting my dog off barking.’