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Ipid calls for cop to be charged after burglar 'kills himself with police gun'

Shocked investigators 'regard the incident as the worst negligence they've seen'

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate's investigators says it is the 'worst case of negligence' they have seen. Stock photo.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate's investigators says it is the 'worst case of negligence' they have seen. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/rawpixel

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) will recommend that a North West policeman be criminally charged after a suspected thief allegedly killed himself using an unattended police firearm.

Ipid spokesperson Grace Langa said investigators, who deem the matter as the “worst case of negligence” they have seen, will also recommend that the officer and a colleague, both based at Makapanstad police station, be disciplined internally.

They had taken a 28-year-old man, who faced multiple charges of housebreaking and theft, into custody at the weekend.

Langa said the policemen had cuffed one of the man's hands to a chair.

“One of the officers, it is alleged, told his colleague that he was going to the shop and had left a bag on the table where the suspect was seated. The other officer also left the suspect to go into their supervisor's office,” she said.

“It is alleged that the suspect, with his uncuffed hand, searched the bag that was on the table, found a police firearm inside and shot himself between the ear and eye. The suspect died instantly on the scene.”

Langa said the police officer claimed he did not know the firearm was in the bag.

“Ipid investigators are shocked and regard the incident as the worst negligence they have seen,” she said.

“Ipid will recommend that the officer be charged in terms of the Firearms Control Amendment Act for negligent handling of a firearm. The act states clearly that a firearm should at all times be in the possession of the owner and inside a holster.

“Ipid is investigating and will recommend both criminal and internal disciplinary action against the officers.”

TimesLIVE


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