Gunfire during children's tour of a police station

Seven-year-old hurt after officer fires gun during prize trip to Nottinghamshire headquarters

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A seven-year-old girl suffered facial injuries after a police officer accidentally fired a gun during a children’s tour of his police station.

The girl, who has not been named, was reportedly among a group of children who were being shown around the station as a prize for winning a colouring competition.

The gun is understood to have been discharged at the end of a talk by firearms officers at Sherwood Lodge north of Nottingham, the headquarters of the Nottinghamshire Police force.

The girl is thought to have suffered a cut lip after the weapon was fired into the ground. It was initially feared that she had been hit by a bullet ricochet, but last night Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said he believed it had been caused by an ammunition cartridge that fell and bounced as the weapon was fired.

It is not thought that the girl’s injuries are serious.

The gun was fired during a lunchtime visit on 30 October but the police only made a public admission after details of the incident leaked out.

The officer involved has now been taken off firearms duties, pending the outcome of an investigation into what happened.

During talks and demonstrations for members of the public, police officers are meant to unload their guns, and not use any live ammunition. Nottinghamshire’s Assistant Chief Constable, Simon Torr, said: “We are conducting a thorough inquiry to determine exactly how this unfortunate incident happened and have also referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“We have spoken to the parents who were visiting force headquarters with their children to explain what happened and have apologised for any distress caused.”

A spokeswoman for the force said: “Following the incident a seven-year-old Nottinghamshire girl, who was part of the visiting group, was found with a minor injury to her lip. The cause of that injury will now form part of the investigation.”

It was unclear what type of weapon was involved in the accident but last night The Daily Telegraph reported that  force’s standard issue sidearm is the Walther P99, while the Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun is also widely used by British forces.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act in 2010, revealed that armed UK police officers had  accidentally discharged their  firearms 110 times over a three-year period.