I work retail and one of my jobs includes upselling lottery tickets. I was told by a police officer (clearly on duty & uniformed) that it was illegal for them to buy one while on duty as it is considered gambling.

Is this true?

This is in the UK, specifically England.

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    – Dale M
    Nov 27 '20 at 21:30

No. There's nothing in neither the Gambling Act 2005 nor the Police Regulations 2003 specifically preventing police officers from buying lottery tickets (or gambling in general for that matter).

The principal requirement from the Police Regulations is at Schedule 1, para 1 which is to do it (like everything else in life) sensibly:

A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere.

However, there may be local force policies in place (regarding lottery tickets) but I doubt it.

  • 5
    I wouldn't be surprised if there were local force policies saying that they couldn't gamble while on duty, but that's obviously the police officers problem to keep to these rules rather than OPs problem.
    – DavidW
    Nov 27 '20 at 9:34
  • 1
    @DavidW and indeed breaking the rules set out by one's employer isn't automatically illegal, even for police officers.
    – bdsl
    Nov 27 '20 at 9:57
  • 7
    @DavidW - there is precedent for this type of thing being externalised. It used to be illegal to sell alcohol to a police officer in uniform in the UK Nov 27 '20 at 11:30
  • 1
    the image of gambling could interfere with the public image aimed for.
    – Trish
    Nov 27 '20 at 15:17
  • 1
    Note also that police officers under cover may need to gamble or drink while 'on duty'.
    – Richard
    Nov 27 '20 at 17:08

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