Mansfield mayor accepts police procedures open and transparent after a week’s delay in reporting schoolgirl’s firearm injury

Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton
Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton

Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton has accepted a police investigation will be open and transparent after a young girl was injured by a bullet accidentally fired from a machine gun at Nottinghamshire Police headquarters.

The force has come under fire for not going public about the incident for more than a week - after the seven-year-old was hurt while visiting Sherwood Lodge on 30th October.

An inquiry is being undertaken by the police who have referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The officer involved has been taken off firearms duty and could face disciplinary action.

Mr Egginton, who is chairman of the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel, had been concerned about the delay in the public being informed.

During a meeting of the panel on Monday councillors debated the issue with police and crime commissioner, Paddy Tipping and Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Chris Eyre.

Speaking at the meeting Chris Eyre said he ‘may have made a mistake’ in not releasing information straight away after the girl was injured by a bullet accidentally fired from a machine gun.

But he insisted he had been transparent over the incident and added: “It was my decision when made public, but the reason is we had young families.

“They have lives as well. That might mean I have made a mistake. I will stand by that.”

Afterwards Mr Eggington told the Chad he accepted there were reasons for the delay and was confident a full and transparent investigation would be made.

He said: “My question was about openness and transparency in the procedures.

“I was quite shocked that it took that amount of time, but I accept there was a seven-year old involved.

“Chris Eyre quite categorically said a full enquiry will happen and we were given assurances from the Chief Constable and Police Commissioner they were committed to putting checks and balances into place making sure this will never happen again.

“I am confident they have given all the assurances they can.

“The last thing we want to do is put a stop to children visiting our police force.”

School children from across the county were visiting Sherwood Lodge after winning a colouring competition, when the incident happened

Following a tour of the site, visiting the force’s dog unit and traffic cars the group met firearms officers.

A gun was accidentally fired into the ground and the girl who has not been identified suffered a minor injury to her lip.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Torr said: “We are conducting a thorough inquiry to determine exactly how this unfortunate incident happened.

“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.”