The image taken yesterday shows a male officer, smiling away, as he swings on a piece of orange rope attached to a tree in Torry, Aberdeen.
Another officer, also wearing his full Police Scotland uniform, is also shown watching on while his colleague plays.
The image was shared by a shocked onlooker yesterday who wrote: “Pictured in Aberdeen today, police enjoying a bit of down time.”
It is understood police were called to the scene after reports of children playing near a construction area.
The post has received hundreds of likes, with many users taking to the image to ridicule Police Scotland.
One user wrote: “That’s not down time, he’s in the police helicopter looking for crime.
“Afterwards they ran back to their treehouse headquarters shouting “NEE NAW! NEE NAW!” and farted into their walkie talkies.”
One said: “Requesting urgent backup. PC McCloud has uncovered a major crime swing-dicate”
And another wrote: “If they’re anything like their Glaswegian counterparts then they’re probably waiting for some 10 year old kids to come along so they can pat them down and aggressively question their motives for being out the house.”
The force came under fire last year after taking more than three days to attend to a car crash on the M9 - despite receiving an emergency call at the time of the incident.
Lamara Bell, 25, was forced to lay beside her dead boyfriend, John Yuill, 28 until police officers finally attended the scene near Bannockburn, Stirling.
The mother-of-two was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a head injury, broken bones and kidney damage as a result of dehydration.
She died four days later at Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow.
It later emerged that the initial emergency call was not entered into Police Scotland’s system, prompting an urgent review into the force’s call-handling procedures.
Last month they were also criticised for sending 40 police officers and a police helicopter to a family home in Glasgow - after receiving a complaint about a dog biting another dog.
Audit Scotland revealed that complaints against Police Scotland last year soared by almost 45 per cent in last year.