June 9, 2008 / 1:08 PM / 12 years ago

Policeman shot dead during training

LONDON (Reuters) - A policeman was shot dead on Monday during a firearms training exercise at a disused warehouse in Manchester, police said.

A police officer blocks the entrance to an area of Gloucester, western England, in this November 27, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Martin Bennett

The police constable suffered serious chest injuries and later died in hospital.

Greater Manchester Police’s Acting Chief Constable Dave Whatton said an investigation had begun into the events surrounding the shooting.

“I can’t go into the circumstances of how the officer was killed. But what I can say is that there was no risk at any stage to any members of the public,” he told a news conference.

“Nobody else was hurt when the accident happened. There is now a full investigation taking place.”

The officer was married and served with the Manchester force as a constable. His family asked for no more personal details to be released, Whatton added.

The incident happened in Newton Heath, an area in the north of the city, at 11:35 a.m. The victim was taken to North Manchester General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The police chief would not say if the officer had been accidentally shot by a colleague or killed by his own weapon.

He also refused to give details of the training exercise.

He added: “Everybody is devastated by...the loss of a highly regarded colleague and friend to many officers in Greater Manchester.”

Police sealed off entrances to the site and forensics officers searched the scene of the shooting.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told parliament that “the whole House will be saddened to learn of the tragic death”.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said: “Firearms training for UK police officers is among the best in the world and includes common minimum standards for all forces in firearms training.

“Whilst any unintentional discharge is a cause for concern, training and debriefing and a review of procedures take place to ensure such unfortunate incidents are kept to an absolute minimum.”

Reporting by Peter Griffiths; editing by Steve Addison

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