Turkish Police Association head Eren Emin and UK colleagues catch thief while on Barcelona stag do

The phrase ‘never off duty’ rang true for Acting Inspector Eren Emin of the Metropolitan Police and his fellow British police officers on a recent trip to Spain, as they intervened and apprehended a thief who was trying to rob a restaurant.

The head of the Turkish Police Association (TPA) had jetted off to Barcelona with six friends – four of them also serving police officers – for a four-day stag do ahead of Eren’s wedding in May.

As the group of seven sat in a restaurant in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter waiting for their food on Sunday afternoon, 21 April, they noticed a middle-aged man behaving suspiciously. The off-duty officers’ natural instincts kicked in, as Eren, aged 30, explains in typical police officer fashion:

“On Sunday 21st April 24, at 14:00 hours, the group was sitting in a restaurant in Barcelona waiting for their food in the Gothic Quarter. While waiting, our attention was drawn to a male in his late 30s, [or] early 40s, who walked up to the bar counter and made his way behind it. Initially, I was a little suspicious as the male was not dressed as a waiter or chef.

“The male then commenced an untidy search, emptying the cash registers and taking electrical goods, such as iPads and mobile phones. He then sprinted out the shop and down the road instantly followed by myself and my group, who are also police officers from the Met Police and City of London [Police].

“The male was detained and the goods were secured before the male was returned to the restaurant when the police were called by locals. On their arrival, we identified ourselves as UK police officers and it was high-fives all around. Our statements were taken and the male was taken into police custody.”

Since sharing brief details about the incident on his X (formerly) Twitter account, the TPA head has been inundated with requests asking for interviews, with the story appearing on multiple UK national media outlets, including the BBC, Sky, Daily Mail, and ITV, to name but a few.

Spanish police turn up to arrest the suspected thief after UK off-duty police apprehended him in Barcelona, 21 April 2024. Photos via A/Insp. Eren Emin


Reflecting on the experience, A/Inspector Eren told T-VINE, “Policing is a natural instinct for us. We police with pride and carry the same ethics and professionalism anywhere we go.

“We never went there with the intention of getting involved with anything. However, the theft happened right in front of us and we feel we have a duty of care to act regardless of being abroad.

“The best part was bringing back the stolen property to the restaurant owner and watching his face light up with joy. The Spanish police commended our swift actions and thanked us for providing a statement, which will hopefully lead to prosecution.”

The TPA head confirmed, having fulfilled their “commitments” as off-duty officers, the group went “straight back into our holiday mode”.

Main image, top, with the five police officers are, from far-left clockwise, Sergeant Ahmet Retvan (bottom far left), Constable Murat Yildiran (mid-level left), Sergeant Nick Harpas (mid-level right), Inspector Chris Excell (bottom far right), and A/Inspector Eren Emin (bottom middle), with two other unnamed friends making up the group of 7 on the stag do.