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Shocked staff Investigation launched after PSNI officer leaves handgun in Co Down hotel room

Shocked staff at the hotel in the town's South Promenade contacted the PSNI to report the discovery of the handgun

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Chief Constable Simon Byrne is in charge of the PSNI

Chief Constable Simon Byrne is in charge of the PSNI

Chief Constable Simon Byrne is in charge of the PSNI

The PSNI has launched an investigation after a police officer left a gun behind in a Co Down hotel.

The officer was on holiday in the seaside town of Newcastle when the incident took place.

They are believed to have left the weapon in their hotel room. Shocked staff at the hotel in the town's South Promenade then contacted the PSNI to report the discovery of the handgun.

The weapon was recovered and the Belfast-based officer informed they were under investigation as a result. Other officers have been reminded of the safety protocols when carrying their personal protection weapons when off-duty.

In 2012, the PSNI began a similar inquiry after an officer left a gun and ammunition on a child's bed in a house in north Belfast.

The pistol and bullets were left behind in the house in Ardoyne after officers searched the property.

Around half an hour later, police returned saying they had left something behind and retrieved the gun and holster.

In the latest incident, the officer was holidaying in Newcastle and staying in one of the popular beachfront hotels. It is thought a housekeeper found the weapon when they went to clean the room. 

The PSNI's Professional Standards Department (PSD) has launched an investigation.

The Police Ombudsman did not need to be informed as the incident happened while the officer was off-duty.

A source said: "Mistakes happen, but leaving a weapon behind in a hotel room is on the more serious end of the scale. The officer will have some explaining to do to PSD as to how they managed to remember to pack up their toothbrush but left behind a loaded gun."

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