POLICE Scotland have been ridiculed after a photograph was posted online clearly showing a uniformed officer playing on a makeshift rope swing.
The image taken yesterday shows a male officer, smiling away, as he swings on a piece of orange rope attached to a tree in Torry, Aberdeen.
Another officer, also wearing his full Police Scotland uniform, is also shown watching on while his colleague plays.
The image was shared by a surprised onlooker yesterday who wrote: “Pictured in Aberdeen today, police enjoying a bit of down time.”
It is understood Police Scotland were called out to the area after receiving calls from concerned locals about kids playing near a construction site.
Another picture shows officers moving the children on from the swing – before deciding to test it out for themselves.
It was then taken down before the officers, according to locals, drove the children back to their homes, allowing them to wear their police hats on the way.
But a spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Taxpayers will be dismayed that police officers are playing on swings when they should be out keeping our streets safe.
“What kind of example does this set to others? It highlights a police force in utter chaos.
“The Scottish Conservatives are the only strong party to hold the SNP to account on their soft touch approach to justice in Scotland.”
The post has received hundreds of likes, with many users taking to the image to ridicule Police Scotland.
One user wrote: “That’s not down time, he’s in the police helicopter looking for crime.
“Afterwards they ran back to their treehouse headquarters shouting “NEE NAW! NEE NAW!” and farted into their walkie talkies.”
One said: “Requesting urgent backup. PC McCloud has uncovered a major crime swing-dicate”
And another wrote: “If they’re anything like their Glaswegian counterparts then they’re probably waiting for some 10 year old kids to come along so they can pat them down and aggressively question their motives for being out the house.”
Although many social media users criticised the officers, others saw the light side.
Tracy Marie Marr, who uploaded the images to Facebook, wrote: “I think it’s an absolutely brilliant picture, shows they have a different side to what people think.”
Debbie Thomson said: “Love it. These boys work so hard and under so much stress. A bit of light relief.”
And former officer Brian Wallace said: “I’ve just retired after 50 years work and not once did I get to go on the swing….Envy.”
The force came under fire last year after taking more than three days to attend to a car crash on the M9 – despite receiving an emergency call at the time of the incident.
Lamara Bell, 25, was forced to lay beside her dead boyfriend, John Yuill, 28 until police officers finally attended the scene near Bannockburn, Stirling.
The mother-of-two was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a head injury, broken bones and kidney damage as a result of dehydration.
She died four days later at Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow.
It later emerged that the initial emergency call was not entered into Police Scotland’s system, prompting an urgent review into the force’s call-handling procedures.
Last month they were also criticised for sending 40 police officers and a police helicopter to a family home in Glasgow – after receiving a complaint about a dog biting another dog.
Audit Scotland revealed that complaints against Police Scotland last year soared by almost 45 per cent in last year.
Police Scotland today confirmed that the officers responded to safety concerns about children playing on a swing rope – by playing on the same rope.
Chief Inspector Graeme Mackie said: “Our officers responded to a report of concern from a member of the public on Tuesday regarding children playing on a makeshift swing in the Torry area.
“Police Scotland’s main priority is the safety of the public, and in this case our main priority was the safety of the children involved.
“Community policing often requires different ways of handling different situations, and on this occasion the officer in question engaged with the children in a light hearted manner as the situation required and the children involved responded very positively to this.”