”These things happen now and again, unfortunately,” said Tore Olsson at the Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium - SKL) in Linköping to daily Dagens Nyheter.
Police officers in Örnsköldsvik had received the hunting rifle late last year, but hadn't got around to sending it in for analysis until recently. After the lab in Linköping was finished with it, the weapon was to be either re-sold or destroyed.
However, when the forensic scientists unpacked it, they discovered it was loaded with live ammunition.
”It was lucky that nothing happened and we are treating it as a very serious matter that the weapon was sent off without anyone checking if it was loaded,” police officer Dick Danielsson at the Örnsköldsvik station told the paper.
Danielsson has subsequently reported the incident to the Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) and a committee has been appointed to review routines for weapon handling. All personnel will also receive further training.
According to DN, a similar incident occurred in May when another loaded gun arrived at the lab, that time from Halland in western Sweden.
Since then, the lab has issued guidelines about weapons handling and has stressed that the onus is on officers to make sure that weapons are safe before they are sent off.
”Luckily no one on our staff has been injured so far in connection with these loaded weapons, but our personnel are very thorough and don't take anything for granted before they have been checked,” Larsson told DN.