Police plea over missing ammunition
Police have asked for the public’s help to find a magazine of live ammunition dropped by an armed officer yesterday.
Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, said it is believed the magazine fell off the officer’s utility belt at about 4pm near East Broadway, Pembroke as the officer chased a suspect believed to be in possession of a knife.
Police launched a search for the magazine at about 6pm yesterday after they discovered it was missing.
Mr Corbishley declined to say how many rounds of ammunition were in the magazine, but said the magazine itself should be easily recognised.
He said: “Since yesterday we have conducted extensive searches of the area, but at this stage we have not recovered the said magazine.
“The purpose of this press conference is to ask for any member of the public who discovers the magazine to hand it straight in to the Bermuda Police Service.
“If any member of the public has already found the magazine, I ask them to bring it to us immediately noting that under the firearms act it is an offence to possess such an item, which can be punishable with up to ten years in prison.”
The Commissioner said that while it was believed the magazine was lost near East Broadway, it was possible it had fallen elsewhere.
He said the officer was on a motorcycle during the chase and it was possible the vibrations of the vehicle had caused the magazine to fall.
Mr Corbishley said: “If you have seen our firearms officers, they carry a significant, substantial amount of kit including their protective vests and a number of different items.
“At the end of a tour of duty the items are signed back in at the armory, and that officer quite rightly said it was misplaced and we immediately responded to it.
“The two hours lost, while it is regrettable, I don’t think is down to the officer. As soon as he realised, he informed, and we took action.”
The Commissioner added that the BPS had begun an inquiry into how the magazine was lost and that the loss of live ammunition caused concern.
Mr Corbishley said that the early stages of the inquiry suggest the officer had behaved properly and there was a very real possibility that his equipment had failed which caused the magazine to fall.
He added: “I take this issue very seriously because of course there are reputational issues for the service, which is the reason why I have instigated a thorough investigation into the matters that have taken place.
“Additionally we need to recognise that we have armed police officers on the streets of Bermuda that have occasion to be called to instances where their specialist skills are required and, while this is no excuse, unfortunately such incidents can take place and we have seen them in other police forces elsewhere in the world.”
Mr Corbishley urged anyone who may have found the magazine to turn it in because they could face charges if they are found with it later by police.
He said: “I can’t rule out the fact that someone picked it up and thought it would be a nice thing for their bedroom and don’t realise the significance of what they found or the risk that they incur by continuing to possess it.
“If someone picked it up the other day, bring it in. There will be no liability against them at all, but if we don’t recover it and in the future we find someone with it months later, then they may be criminally responsible.”
Anyone with information about the information about the lost magazine should call police on 295-0011 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 800-8477.
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