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Officer who left gun in toilet to keep job

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/06/2017

A policeman who left a loaded gun in a bathroom at parliament won't lose his job, an investigation has concluded.

The officer, who has been a member of the Diplomatic Protection Service for the last eight years, made what former prime minister John Key described at the time as a "catastrophic error" when he left his weapon in the bathroom on June 16 last year.

He was en route to Wellington Airport for a work matter and asked the officer travelling with him to return and retrieve the gun.

The Glock was discovered by a member of the public moments before the second officer arrived in the bathroom to secure the weapon, an hour and 25 minutes after it was discovered missing.

A police investigation into the incident concluded errors were made and noted both officers had been "dealt with" through a confidential employment process.

"We are in no doubt about the potential risk. Our staff are human and we accept that the firearm being left in the bathroom was a genuine mistake," Assistant Commissioner Mike Rusbatch said.

But he said the matter should have been handled differently once it was realised the gun was missing.

Members of Parliament, staff and members of the public were in the building at the time.

Mr Key was in Auckland.

At the time he offered to write a character reference for the officer, who remains employed by police.

"He just made a catastrophic error, it's pretty awful for him because he's not that kind of guy, he doesn't make mistakes easily," Mr Key said.

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