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Investigation launched after PSNI officer 'unintentionally' fires gun


An investigation has been launched after two PSNI officers were hurt when a firearm was “unintentionally” discharged.

It happened near the Welcome Centre at Townsend Street in west Belfast shortly before 10am on Wednesday. Police had been called to the area amid reports of a disturbance.

A PSNI spokesperson said two officers sustained “minor injuries” in the incident.

The incident is now the subject of an investigation by the Police Ombudsman.

The PSNI statement read: “Police are investigating an incident where an officer unintentionally discharged their firearm in the Townsend Street area of West Belfast today, Wednesday June 29.

“Two officers sustained minor injuries to their lower legs. As is normal procedure, the office of the Police Ombudsman have been informed.”

The Police Ombudsman’s Office confirmed they have been “notified of the discharge of a firearm by a police officer in a public place this morning (29 June)”.

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A spokesperson added: “The incident occurred shortly after 10am in the Townsend Street area of Belfast. Two police officers suffered minor injuries to their legs. There are no reports that any members of the public were injured.

“Having completed preliminary inquiries, the Ombudsman has commenced a formal investigation to establish the full circumstances.

“The Ombudsman has appealed for witnesses who may have seen the incident, or who may have recorded the incident on their mobile phone or vehicle dash cam, to contact the Police Ombudsman’s witness appeal line on 0800 032 7880.”

The full circumstances of this incident are unclear.

In 2020, the PSNI revealed that there had been 23 accidental discharges of a firearm in the previous five years.

In one incident, a firearm was accidentally discharged at an armoury, resulting in damage to a firearms register book and table.

Another case involved the accidental discharge of a firearm at home during cleaning, resulting in damage to a wall.

Other examples included a firearm being accidentally set off during cleaning, damaging a floor; a firearm accidentally discharged in an office, injuring an officer’s finger and leg; and another accidentally going off during unloading, causing damage to a car boot.

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