POLICE WEAPOMS BUNGLE
The loss of the gun by
the elite Special Emergency Response Team was
followed this week by the disappearance of a police
issue handgun from an officer's home in Arundel on
the Gold Coast.
The handgun was stolen
along with police shirts and a police cap.
The incidents could
lead to a tightening of security for more than 8000
weapons carried by police across Queensland.
The Heckler and Koch
MP5 9mm automatic weapon was reported missing from a
Cairns police storage room in mid-March during a
A joint investigation
into the loss of the weapon, capable of firing 800
rounds a minute, is nearing completion but the gun's
whereabouts remains a mystery.
It is believed it was
lost during a training exercise in dense scrub
somewhere in remote far north Queensland.
Association of Queensland president Robert Nioa said
the loss of such a weapon was incredible.
"I'd be very surprised
if it was just lost. That's almost unheard of," he
"SERT guys are very
strict when checking weapons in and out of an
Russell Rhodes – who headed the inquiry along with
an officer from the Ethical Standards Command – said
he was confident the gun had not fallen into the
"It's not an ideal
investigation to have to conduct but we have no
grave concerns (the weapon) is with the criminal
Insp Rhodes said a
string of similar incidents involving missing police
firearms across the state in recent years could lead
to recommendations for tighter weapon security
controls for police.
"We may have to
strengthen auditing procedures," Insp Rhodes said.
In August last year,
The Sunday Mail revealed a number of
incidents where police lost, misplaced or had their
Some went missing from
secure police station safes and are yet to be
recovered. In one case, a police officer lost his
pistol while on duty, only to have it returned by
the mother of a suspect he was investigating.
Two other officers
lost pistols from their holsters. In both cases,
police had been chasing suspects through bushland.
Both weapons were
found, one with the help of a State Emergency
Insp Rhodes said the
emergency response officers who lost the
sub-machinegun in the March incident often carried
up to three firearms on exercises and it was
possible the weapon was left behind.