Police marksman suspended after shooting civilian during pistol demonstration
A police marksman is under investigation after accidentally shooting a colleague in an extraordinary blunder.
The victim, a civilian employee, was seriously injured in the accident at a lecture room at the HQ of Thames Valley Police near Oxford.
He was apparently being shown the workings of a police Glock pistol when it went off, blasting him in the torso.
The victim, aged in his 50s, was left writhing in agony with blood pouring from the wound.
He underwent emergency surgery and his condition was described as serious but stable.
The hugely embarrassing incident prompted a major internal investigation and stunned officers.
One police source at the HQ said: "There are a lot of red faces about this. Why the hell was an experienced firearms officer demonstrating with a loaded pistol in an enclosed environment?
"Someone's head will have to roll."
The victim was among a group of about a dozen civilian employees attending a pre-lunch lecture at the Kidlington headquarters when the blunder happened.
New employees were being shown the work of the tactical firearms unit when the gun went off and the man was hit at close range.
He was taken by ambulance to hospital in a serious condition, having lost "a lot of blood".
The police source added: "There was a tremendous hoo-haa as it was realised the gun which he was showing off had actually 'got one up the spout' and had shot one of his colleagues.
"There was lots of claret (blood) about as a result of the shooting and the officer was immediately suspended and his gun seized."
In a statement the IPCC said: "We are conducting an independent investigation into the discharge of a Thames Valley Police firearm that occurred yesterday.
"The incident occurred during a Thames Valley Police firearms awareness training course, when one bullet was discharged, wounding a member of police staff (a control room operator) in the torso.
"The wounded man, who is in his 50s, is in hospital in Oxford and is in a serious but stable condition.
"The firearms awareness session was taking place in a room on police property in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, and involved 11 police control room operators from across the force.
"Thames Valley Police referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and IPCC investigators have attended the scene of the discharge today, and begun to gather evidence."
IPCC Commissioner Deborah Glass added: "I have decided that we should conduct an independent investigation, using our own investigators, to establish the circumstances of this incident.
"The investigation will examine how live ammunition came to be present in a firearm during an awareness session and consider whether any criminal or disciplinary offences have been committed."
She added that details of the police marksman who fired the gun would be a matter for Thames Valley Police to reveal if they wished.