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Investigation into pistol left in bathroom at Parliament: “genuine mistake”

News from NZ Police
An investigation has been concluded into an incident in which a police Glock pistol belonging to a member of Protection Services staff was accidentally left in a bathroom at Parliament.

The incident occurred when the police officer visited the bathroom on the morning of 16 June 2016. The police officer subsequently discovered the loss while en-route to Wellington Airport as part of his duties.

He immediately asked a colleague travelling with him to return to Parliament to recover the firearm.

This second officer arrived at the bathroom a few moments after the firearm was discovered by a member of the public. The officer then secured the firearm, which was intact and unused. This occurred an hour and 25 minutes after the first officer had discovered its loss.

An investigation has been conducted into the actions of both individuals involved, which was particularly focussed on the steps taken to secure the firearm once its loss had been discovered.

In relation to the officer who left the firearm, the investigation accepts there was no intention to leave the firearm in the bathroom, and the investigation explored the options available to recover the firearm at the time.

This matter has been dealt with by way of an employment process with the individual and the second police officer, the details of which remain confidential between them and Police.

Assistant Commissioner Mike Rusbatch says this was a serious incident which has been thoroughly investigated:

“We are in no doubt about the potential risk which arose from this incident. Our staff are human and we accept that the firearm being left in the bathroom was a genuine mistake.

“However, the loss should have been dealt with differently once it was discovered, to minimise the risk to the public.

“This incident was without precedent and I am confident that lessons have been learned regarding application of our operational risk assessment model, and our expectations of staff,” says Mr Rusbatch.

Both individuals continue to work in Protection Services.