A police officer who left a loaded gun in a bathroom at Parliament will doing “a lot of soul-searching” and could face up to three investigations, a security specialist once responsible for guarding prime ministers says.
Police are investigating how a loaded Glock pistol was left behind in a Parliament bathroom on Thursday.
The gun was recovered by police after they became aware it was there.
In a statement, police said: “As soon as police were made aware that the firearm had been left in the bathroom, staff attended and recovered it from the occupant, and we would like to thank them for their assistance.
“This was a regrettable incident that we are taking seriously, and we acknowledge the potential risk that this could have posed.”
The statement says police have started an investigation into the incident, and would not comment further while they were looking into the matter.
Police have not confirmed who owned the firearm, but police staff most commonly seen around Parliament are members of the Prime Minister’s diplomatic protection service, who are routinely armed.
This is a huge fail by the officer concerned. Everyone makes mistakes and can leave something behind – but a loaded gun in a toilet is another matter.
A huge amount of money is spent on keeping Parliament secure with x-ray machines etc, and to just have a loaded gun sitting in a bathroom is negligent. A small redeeming factor is that the bathroom was probably not one accessible by the public.
Security specialist Lance Burdett, who used to run an Auckland-based VIP protection squad responsible for looking after prime ministers, said the breach was “the worst thing you can do, absolutely”.
“He or she is highly trained, and that’s the first thing you train is never let it [your gun] out of your sight.
“Out on the course, you wear it the whole time… it is never to leave your side so you get used to not leaving it behind and always having it with you.”
Burdett said firearm holsters were often worn on the hip, and it had likely been taken off to use the toilet, then left behind out of “absent-mindedness”.
My guess also.
If the staff member was part of the DPS, they would almost certainly lose their job, while they could face dismissal from the police force entirely.
They would be doing “a lot of soul-searching” while the investigations were underway, Burdett said.
“Whatever repercussions are for the person that’s left it there, they themselves will be putting themselves through more hoops than anyone else ever could.”
SACKING NOT NEEDED – LABOUR
Labour’s police spokesman Stuart Nash didn’t want to see the person responsible fired, instead a written warning should be issued.
“It’s a serious breach but this person is never going to leave their firearm alone again and nothing bad has come from it.”
On this, I agree with Stuart Nash. A decision for Police of course, but from what I know of DPS officers, he or she will be absolutely aghast at their mistake. Also they will probably be “hassled” about it for some years by their colleagues. A severe bollocking should occur, but not a firing.