The Australian Federal Police has lost almost 30 "controlled items" in the past year including munitions, body armour, bullet-proof vests, Tasers, batons, handcuffs and night-vision goggles, an audit into its firearms and armoury has revealed.
It is the second time since 2009 that the AFP has been warned that its stocktake procedures for guns and ammunition were of serious concern.
It follows allegations that ex-AFP members have taken controlled items with them after they left the organisation.
A spokesman for the AFP stressed that no guns were listed as lost or missing.
He said it had responded to the 15 recommendations made in the official audit and almost all had been implemented.
A comparison across federal agencies revealed that Customs had reported only one gun – a Glock - as missing during the past three years. It was later sighted and accounted for
The Department of Defence was not able to respond in time, however in 2013 it was reported that it was investigating a case of 960 missing weapons.
In the past 12 months, Fairfax Media has found reports that two Steyr rifles (without magazines) have gone missing during a training exercise at Singleton Military area, a Navy member was found to be in possession of a prohibited weapon, an army member was alleged to have stolen property including ammunition and military equipment, and in May an army member was found with weapons illegally in his possession.
Documents obtained under freedom-of-information laws show that the audit of AFP firearms found officers were carrying guns despite not having current "Use of Force" qualifications and that AFP documentation was not good enough to explain to people in charge of firearms their responsibilities.
It found that tracking and stocktake procedures for guns and ammunition were not up to standard.
The audit looked at the types of firearms that the 4300 sworn federal police and protective service officers use: pistols, revolvers, automatic machineguns, Tasers, shotguns and rifles, and non-lethal projectile launchers.
The AFP has 7000 firearms, including 5500 standard-issue Glock 19 pistols – more, according to the audit, than it needs.
It found unused and unwanted guns were not being disposed of or destroyed.
In some cases, guns were being left in an "unsafe condition" and the armoury was found to be the most consistent area of non-compliance.
The audit found operational safety trainers, who had inherited the role of managing firearms, had "not received any formal training in relation to the management of firearms".
The AFP is investigating allegations that ex-officers had kept weapons after they left the force.
"The Western Australia Police arrested an individual in 2012 who was in possession of previously-unrecovered AFP controlled items," the AFP spokesman said.
The story AFP has 'lost' munitions, bullet-proof vests, body armour, Tasers and handcuffs first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.