‘Fortunate no one died’ after police warn wrong person of bomb

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire
Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire

The Police Ombudsman has said it was “fortunate no one died” when police errors led to a failure to identify and warn the target of an imminent bomb attack.

The incident, which happened at an undisclosed location in 2014, involved a viable device which didn’t go off and was later defused.

However, an investigation revealed that officers had failed to make proper inquiries, identified the wrong target and warned the wrong person, after receiving a call alerting them to the danger.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said: “The outcome of this incident could have been very much more serious. The targets of this attack were, in effect, failed by the police. I have recommended that police put in place, as a matter of urgency, measures to prevent a recurrence.” He recommended that the three officers involved be disciplined.

The investigation also established that the designated police phone number called by the external organisation had been temporarily unmanned at the time of the call. Dr Maguire recommended, to prevent a recurrence, that police put in place measures to ensure calls are answered immediately.