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No laughing matter: Police spark backlash by tweeting aerial surveillance image of comedian

FILE - This is a Saturday, July 7, 2012  file photo of British comedian Michael McIntyre, left, and comedian Miranda Hart, as they watch Serena Williams of the United States face Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the women's final match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England.  An image of the top of Micheal McIntyre's  head has Britons debating the decline of privacy in an age of surveillance. On Wednesday July 15, 2015 the National Police Air Service, which operates camera-equipped helicopters, tweeted an image of a man with a mop of dark hair, asking if people could recognize "a certain energetic funny man." (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

FILE - This is a Saturday, July 7, 2012 file photo of British comedian Michael McIntyre, left, and comedian Miranda Hart, as they watch Serena Williams of the United States face Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the women's final match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England. An image of the top of Micheal McIntyre's head has Britons debating the decline of privacy in an age of surveillance. On Wednesday July 15, 2015 the National Police Air Service, which operates camera-equipped helicopters, tweeted an image of a man with a mop of dark hair, asking if people could recognize "a certain energetic funny man." (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)  (The Associated Press)

An image of the top of a comedian's head has Britons debating the decline of privacy in an age of surveillance.

On Wednesday the National Police Air Service, which operates camera-equipped helicopters, tweeted an image of a man with a mop of dark hair, asking if people could recognize "a certain energetic funny man."

Many easily identified Michael McIntyre, one of Britain's best-known standup comics, and some criticized the tweet as creepy and intrusive.

Tony Porter, Britain's surveillance camera commissioner, said Thursday that the tweet appeared to violate a code of conduct that says police can only use surveillance cameras for legitimate crime-fighting or public-safety purposes.

Porter said, "I'm pretty sure in this case that what the police did was completely wrong."

McIntyre's spokesman said the comedian had no comment.