Police Officer Fired Shot 'Accidentally' - Report

A police officer accidentally fired a shot at a car believed to contain armed paramilitaries, a report by the Police Ombudsman has revealed.

The incident happened in south Belfast on 6 November 2013.

No one was injured and no firearms were recovered, however four men were arrested and two knuckle dusters and a wooden baton were recovered from the vehicle.

The incident was referred by the Chief Constable to the Police Ombudsman for independent investigation.

Forensic examination of the car showed that the shot had been fired in an upward direction from very close range. The police officer said he had readied his gun for firing, in accordance with his training for such scenarios, however, he stumbled as he approached the car.

The rifle slid up window before an accidental shot was fired into the doorframe.

The officer was a member of one of two police armed response units which had been tasked to intercept the vehicle in connection with an earlier reported incident.
News Image
Police had been advised shortly before 9pm that six men had called at a house, identified themselves as members of a paramilitary organisation, and asked to speak to one of the occupants.

They failed to gain entry to the house and were reported to have made off in two cars. Examination of police records, including the initial phone call to police, showed that police circulated a description of the vehicles and advised that they contained firearms.

When one of the cars was spotted being driven in the south Belfast area, the armed response units were authorised to force it to stop.

The four men who were in the vehicle were interviewed and said the officer had fired a shot at them after their vehicle was rammed as it was pulling over to stop.

Officers in the police cars said they forced the car to stop as it had failed to pull over. The training records of the officer who discharged the firearm were examined and showed that he was properly trained in the use of the weapon at the time of the incident.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 January 2015
Armed Robber Dresses As Police Officer
Police are searching for two men in connection with the attempted armed robbery of a shop in Co Armagh. Police said that one of the men who attempted to rob the shop on West Street, Portadown, was dressed as a policeman. It is understood two men entered the shop at about 10am on Thursday, one of them was carrying a suspected firearm.
06 August 2014
Police Vehicle Contracts Arrest - Man Released
A 54-year-old member of police staff who was arrested in County Antrim as part of ongoing investigations into the awarding of vehicle contracts has been released. The man was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and has been taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning.
21 June 2018
Police Officers Disciplined For Driving At Excessive Speeds
Two police drivers have been disciplined for driving at excessive speeds without justification in Tyrone in October 2016. A member of the public contacted the Police Ombudsman's Office to report that two police cars had overtaken him at speed as he approached the end of the Moneymore to Cookstown dual carriageway at Cookstown at around 8pm.
19 August 2015
Police Officers Disciplined For Speeding At 81mph Through A 30mph Zone
Two police officers have been disciplined after driving at 81mph through a 30mph zone in the village of Claudy in an unmarked police vehicle with no sirens or flashing lights activated, after chasing another car, following a Police Ombudsman investigation.
09 May 2006
Policeman cleared of 1991 shooting death
A police officer has today been cleared of having any involvement in the death of a teenage girl 15-years ago. Alice McLoughlin, 16, from Portadown, County Armagh, died after being shot in the head by a bullet fired while she travelled in an off-duty policeman's car in July 1991.
28 March 2007
House of Lords vote for ‘50/50’ police force
The House of Lords has renewed the 50/50 recruitment rule for the PSNI by a majority of 44. It puts into practice a recommendation made in 1999 by Lord Patten that the local police force should be split evenly between Catholics and Protestants. The result of the vote was 141 to 97.
28 October 2015
Officer Justified In Firing Baton At Armed Teen
A police officer was justified in firing a baton round at a 17-year-old armed with a knife during an incident in west Belfast on 9 March 2014, according to the Police Ombudsman.
28 April 2014
Two Die In Road Accidents
Two men have died in separate road accidents. On Sunday, a man was killed when his car collided with another vehicle on Banbridge Road, Dromore, at around 6pm. A 42-year-old man was arrested at the scene and has been released on police bail. In a separate incident, a man, understood to be in his 40s, has died in Co Armagh.
23 June 2016
Police Officers Disciplined For Failing To Tell Doctor About Woman's Head Injuries
Two police officers have been disciplined after they failed to let their colleagues and a police doctor know that a woman had sustained a head injury, a Police Ombudsman investigation has concluded. The woman died from bleeding to the brain on 24 February 2014, the day after she suffered the injury.
10 December 2001
Ombudsman to investigate shots fired at car in Lisburn
The Police Ombudsman is to investigate an incident in which two shots were fired by an officer during an incident in the Lisburn area on Monday morning. Police officers in Banbridge were contacted by a member of the public after a suspicious red Ford Escort was spotted in Newry.
15 May 2015
Man's Body Recovered From Bangor Marina
Police have launched an investigation after the body of a man was recovered from Bangor Marina on Wednesday, 13 May. Police received a report that a man had entered the water shortly after 10.15am. Emergency services and police attended the scene and the body was recovered from the water. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.
14 May 2012
Seven Police Officers Disciplined Over Pensioner's Death
Seven police officers have been disciplined over an investigation into the death of Lisburn man Jim Heasley in October 2010. The 70-year-old was assaulted as he walked home from Lagan Valley Pigeon Club. An investigation by the Police Ombudsman found a series of failings in the initial police response.
02 November 2011
All Ireland Police Team Tackles GB
The newly branded Ireland Police Rugby team will take on a British Police Select Team at Newforge in Belfast later today. The Ireland Police Rugby Team is a combination of members of An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
04 September 2009
PSNI Cuts Uproar
An already financially beleaguered police service is facing fresh cutbacks. As a result, the Northern Ireland Policing Board is to challenge the Government over proposed £17m cuts in the police service budget. Members are expected to hold a crunch meeting with the NIO Security Minister, it has been announced.
04 September 2007
NI Policing Board Seeks Custody Visitors
The Northern Ireland Policing Board has launched a campaign to recruit Custody Visitors to join the Board’s Custody Visiting Scheme. The volunteer scheme, which operates throughout Northern Ireland, is a means of monitoring how people who are held in police custody are treated.