Officers were policing the government's coronavirus lockdown rules this weekend, encouraging those ignoring the stay-at-home directive to live up to their ‘moral obligation’.
As police patrolled the parks and open spaces in the sunshine, Costa Coffee donated canned drinks to teams at Havant and Waterlooville police stations.
But the rank-and-file were told they could not have the drinks - and they must all be donated to the homeless instead.
Hampshire police confirmed any goods donated ‘in bulk’ would be given to charity or ‘someone in need’ - but any hot drink given by a firm to an individual could be kept.
Alex Charge, Hampshire Police Federation chairman, represents the vast majority of the county’s force.
He told The News: ‘We are glad that in unprecedented times that there is an outpouring of support and gratitude towards the emergency services from members of the public. This is fantastic and is great for officers’ morale.
‘The federation understands the need for the police to have impartiality and transparency around any gifts from the public.
‘We police by consent at that is very important when enforcing Covid-19 measures.
‘We are working with the force to ensure that gifts can go direct to officers and staff as the public intended - the officers who are working so hard to keep them safe.
‘If the public wanted to give gifts to charity they could but they want these gifts to go to officers and staff.’
Rules imposed by the government to reduce the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus mean no-one should leave home unless to do groceries, exercise once a day, for any medical need, to care for a vulnerable person or commute if absolutely necessary. Fines of £60 can be imposed to anyone flouting the rules.
A police spokeswoman said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary has a policy on gifts and gratuities for staff, that remains the same throughout this Covid-19 pandemic.
‘All frontline officers can individually accept a hot drink offered by a takeaway outlet.
‘If the kind gesture is being made to all emergency service personnel, NHS staff and other key workers and not exclusively to the police, then a drink can be accepted as long as it is done sensibly and in moderation, and not in bulk.
‘There is a lot of uncertainty and (negativity)... at the moment during this coronavirus pandemic but it’s important to acknowledge that there are some lovely things going on too, with many businesses and individuals going out of their way to support our emergency services.
‘There are and will always be many in greater need than ourselves, as grateful as we are for the kind and generous gifts, those wishing to donate in bulk, will be given to charity or someone in need.’