PSNI training review after officer shoots herself

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Firearms training in the PSNI has been updated after a female officer accidentally shot herself in the leg while placing her handgun into its holster.

The changes follow a Police Ombudsman (PONI) investigation into the incident which took place in a locker room at Strand Road police station in Londonderry in May last year.

The officer suffered wounds to her thigh and was treated by colleagues who heard the shot and rushed to her aid. When interviewed by investigators from PONI, the officer said her finger was not on the trigger and that she believed the trigger might have caught on the lanyard used to attach the weapon to her gun belt.

Tests carried out at Forensic Science NI showed that the gun could not be placed in the holster with a finger on the trigger without causing pain, and there was nothing on the holster which would have caused the discharge. However, it was discovered that the clip on the lanyard could cause the gun to fire when caught within the trigger guard as the weapon was being holstered.

The possibility that another object might have caused the weapon to fire could also not be ruled out that. Further evidence suggested the weapon had been fired while in the holster.

It was established that PSNI weapon training focused on their active use, and that officers were trained not to look at their holster while removing or replacing handguns.

PONI concluded there was no evidence of a deliberate or negligent discharge, and made no misconduct recommendations against the officer. However, he recommended that firearms training be amended to advise officers to check that holsters are clear of obstructions when in a safe environment.