Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 18:30 UK

Police must record toilet breaks

Phone operators at Scotland Yard's control room have described an order to record their toilet breaks as "offensive and humiliating".

Staff in the Metropolitan Police's control room in Lambeth must note lavatory visits as a "code three".

Employee Paul Drew wrote in a staff magazine: "Everyone I have spoken to about this finds it deeply offensive and humiliating."

The Met said the rules stop staff from taking unnecessary breaks.

But Mr Drew said: "It would be interesting to know what the public or the Met can possibly gain from making notes of such intimate details."

Code three toilet breaks are now recorded on a Scotland Yard database.

'Minimal need'

Supt Russ Hanson-Coles said: "Our primary role at central communications command is to be available for the public to contact and it is vital that we make the best use of our resources.

"Staff in this environment have regular breaks that compare very favourably with outside industry so the need for extra personal breaks should be minimal."

Mr Hanson-Coles pointed out code three incidents cover any unscheduled break, including dashes to the lavatory.

Operators in the Lambeth building work in a specialist room with links to CCTV cameras across London.

They helped co-ordinate the police during major incidents such as the G20 protests.

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