The UK is apparently short of a bobby or two and there are simply not enough to carry out Big Brother operations at internet cafés.
So in true traditions of British policing, Inspector Knacker of the Yard is having a quiet word with internet café owners to get them to do the snooping on his behalf.
Apparently Scotland Yard is advising administrators of public Web spaces to periodically poke through their customers' files and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
Posters and computer desktop images emblazoned with Scotland Yard's logo are also being distributed.
After all when you sniff though someone's account without a warrant or any legal protection it is always good to have a re-assuring snap of a copper on hand. A police spokesman speaking anonymously in line with force policy and therefore not needing any accountability for what they say, denied that that it was asking owners to spy on their customers.
He said it was all about raising awareness. We don't ask them to pass on data for us, he claimed. Well sort of. He said that the police were "encouraging people to check on hard drives." But that is not spying... is it?