Officer left gun on child's bed

Published Wednesday, 18 April 2012
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The police officer who left his gun on a child's bed during a raid in north Belfast could face disciplinary action.

Officer left gun on child's bed
The PSNI said it is taking the incident "extremely seriously". (© UTV)

The PSNI has launched an internal investigation following the incident during a planned search of a Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) member's family home in the Ardoyne area of the city on Tuesday.

The man, an election agent for the party, was arrested prior to the raid on his home.

A police spokesperson said: "After the search an item of officer's personal equipment, a gun belt which included a firearm, was discovered missing."

It is understood the gun was left on the nine-year-old girl's bed for around 20 minutes, until police returned to the house to pick up the gun.

No children were in the house while the search was carried out.

"Police are treating the temporary loss of this equipment extremely seriously and have commenced an internal disciplinary investigation into the circumstances of the incident," added the PSNI spokesperson.

IRSP member Paul Little was called to the house by the family while the search was underway and was there when the officer returned to look for the weapon.

He told UTV that shortly after the PSNI completed the raid and left, he received a call from them to say they had "left some kit behind."

Mr Little said they refused to say what the items were.

He said that when the officers returned to the house the missing objects were revealed to be "a full gun belt, loaded pistol, ammunition and CS gas" lying on a child's bed.

"I was stunned," he said, before adding that the children were due back to the house shortly after the discovery was made.

He said the police "just wanted to get out of the house as quickly as possible."

"This weapon was recklessly abandoned in someone's house, a civilian's house, and potentially someone could have been injured with it."

Ross Hussey, Ulster Unionist Policing Board Member, said he will be asking the Chief Constable to keep the board up to date with the investigation.

"While I understand that house raids are extremely intense, it is unacceptable that an officer has left has been so careless with his firearm and ammunition.

"Given that the raid the officer had taken part in was part of an investigation into dissident republican activity, it makes such carelessness all the more unsettling," he said.

Sinn Féin policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly said the consequences of leaving a gun in a child's bedroom "could have been disastrous".

"I welcome the fact that there will be an inquiry into this incident and questions answered.

"The inquiry should be short and sharp with actions resulting so the public are reassured that an incident like this will not happen again."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jon in Coleraine wrote (1,009 days ago):
One genuine mistake by an officer who upholds the law. Yet a member of Sinn Fein and the IRSP have the nerve to complain about this officers' mistake, yet for years, both groups have had VERY close connections to groups that have been either trying to kill or kill members of the community of Northern Ireland for years. kettle, pot and black spring to mind.
carlos in belfast wrote (1,010 days ago):
the offender should be sacked from the psni no questions asked too many cops losing guns and nothing happens its a disgrace
Vee in Belfast wrote (1,010 days ago):
For Sean in Newcastle: While you are entitled to your opinion - as I am Before you call my comments ridiculous (spelt RIDICULOUS - NOT REDICULOUS) or talk about police being fallible (spelt FALLIBLE - NOT FALABLE) and leaving their (spelt THEIR NOT THER) guns on children's beds i suggest you buy a dictionary and learn how to spell!
rafa in belfast wrote (1,010 days ago):
No great surprise with all those jumping on the Police hating bandwagon, it is N. Ireland after all! Seriously though, a (stupid) mistake was made and the officer concerned will most definitely be disciplined, so get off your self rightous horses. Yes someone could have been hurt, but they weren't, many things could have happened but they didn't. So put a bit of perspective on this unless of course you have never made a mistake...and Esdale your predudice is really boring
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (1,010 days ago):
Correction, Esdale, officer. Singular. Unless there is some other instances you are referring to...Perspective, put things in perspective....
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