Undercover cops from the Metropolitan Police have convicted over 20 thieves in London by acting drunk.
The cops adorn their wrists with luxury, high-end watches while being situated within central London’s crime hotspots.
These methods have led to the undercover cops successfully luring numerous unsuspecting criminals.
The operations ran from late 2022 to 2023 throughout various central London robbery hotspots. These include Chelsea, Mayfair, Soho and South Kensington.
How did the operation work?
As the undercover cops set plans into motion, they would enact the role of potential victim – due to their assumed drunken state and adorning of luxury watch brands – to attract the attention of criminals.
The basis of the strategic operation was to take potential thieves off of central London’s streets – in order for wearers of luxury goods to feel more secure while in public.
As the undercover, assumedly drunk cops successfully lure in the unsuspecting criminals, the thieves would then be detained by fellow undercover officers who were awaiting close to the scene.
Methods by the criminals include failed attempts at distracting and securing the trust of undercover cops outside club venues by detailing locations of sex workers or offering illicit substances.
The number of successful convictions may define success within undercover police operations. With more than 20 convictions thus far, the covert operations can certainly be considered largely successful.
The allure of luxury watches
To the average member of the public, the value of a wristwatch may be difficult to determine. But for collectors and wearers of luxury goods, they are instantly discernable.
Predominantly, luxury Swiss brands were targeted by thieves – despite them remaining oblivious to the officers’ true identities. Such brands include the costly Rolex and Patek Philippe.
While some luxury brands’ high-end goods substantially lose value after a purchase, Swiss watch brands are an anomaly. Even in the post-sale, second-hand marketplace, such watches can fetch considerably high numbers.
Perhaps one of the most looming questions regarding the undercover operations is this: just how much can we trust the judgment of the Metropolitan Police?
Though corruption within the police force is hardly an unknown prospect, the Metropolitan Police possesses a much greater amount of controversy in this regard.
From partaking in petty crimes to committing heinous crimes themselves, such as sexual assault and homicide, the vastly rising number of suspended Met officers – now totally over 1000 suspensions – raises serious alarm bells regarding the justness of the force.
In this sense, we ought to cautiously, rather than directly, follow the official narrative of the Metropolitan Police. This is because the combating of robberies may be hindered by race-based, gendered or sexuality-focused prejudices.