Police are installing a CCTV camera in their station kitchen to catch colleagues who do not wash up.

Officers in Brighton have been told to clean up their act by the city police’s top brass in a campaign dubbed Grimewatch by station wags.

The fourth floor kitchen at the police station in John Street has been plagued by rubbish, litter, spilled food and dirty crockery since a recent refurbishment.

Police rank and file were told on Tuesday about the plan for a camera to keep the facilities under surveillance - but the decision instantly sparked opposition from some officers.

Brighton’s new police commander, Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, said the camera should be a deterrent to stop people leaving a mess.

Ch Supt Bartlett said: “Eight hundred divisional police officers and staff have access to a new kitchen and rest room facility at Brighton police station.

”Unfortunately a small minority of people have been misusing the facilities which were provided by public money.

“I have therefore had to reluctantly take the decision that, in order to protect these facilities, we will use an overt camera to disuade people from spoiling the facility for others.”

Des Turner, MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: “Maybe it’ll encourage the police to mend their ways in the kitchen.

“This gives a new meaning to the phrase, the Filth.”

The Argus was tipped off by an anonymous text message which read: “What a waste of public money.

"Tough on crime, tougher on causers of grime.”

Ch Supt Bartlett said damage to the kitchen would waste money meant for policing.

He said: “I'd much rather be spending our police budget on neighbourhood policing than on any repairs which may arise in the future.

"No additional money was spent on the camera as it was already owned by Sussex Police."

Brian Stockham, chairman of Sussex Police Federation, which acts as the officers’ union, said representatives have raised the issue and plan to confront managers.

He said: “We have had representations made to us that this is happening. It will be dealt with with local management by our local representatives.

“At first sight it seems somewhat excessive.

“The mind boggles as to what abuses of facilities could be monitored by the service in future.”

He said management instead of surveillance should be used to bring officers into line.

He said: “Any abuse of facilities needs to be addressed by local supervision and management getting to grips with whatever the problem may be.

“To use CCTV as a way of addressing a problems seems to me excessive.

“It is a time-consuming device which at first sight appears a modern solution but does involve time and effort to use.”

David Lepper, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “It seems a bit over the top to me.

“CCTV plays a valuable role in deterring and catching criminals.

“I’m not sure they need to go as far as CCTV cameras.

“I would think the public conscience of each police officer should be enough.

“Surely they could draw up a rota?”