Poland probes police HQ blast amid reports police chief fired grenade

Poland's top cop injured by exploding present, says ministry
A general view of a building of the Polish Police Headquarters, where, according to Poland's interior ministry, top cop was injured by an exploding official gift, in Warsaw, Poland December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Kuba Stezycki

WARSAW, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Polish prosecutors were investigating a "violent release of energy" at police headquarters, according to a statement forwarded to Reuters on Friday, amid media reports that the chief of police fired a grenade launcher in his office.

Poland's interior ministry said on Thursday that Jaroslaw Szymczyk, police Commander in Chief, was injured and hospitalised when a present he received during a visit to Ukraine exploded at police headquarters in Warsaw.

Polish media reported that the present in question was a grenade launcher and that Szymczyk himself had accidentally fired it in his office, in what would be a serious breach of safety regulations.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the reports.

On Friday, Polish police forwarded Reuters a statement from the prosecutor's office when asked for comment.

In the statement, published on Thursday, a spokesman for the said it was investigating "an act consisting of unintentionally causing a violent release of energy that threatened the life or health of many people or property".

The statement said that three people, including Szymczyk, were considered victims, without giving details of possible injuries.

Polish media reported that the blast had damaged a ceiling in the building.

A police spokesman and a spokesman for the prosecutor's office both declined to comment further on the issue.

There was no reply from Ukraine's SBU security service to a Reuters request for comment after they were contacted on Thursday.

Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk, Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz, Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Nick Macfie

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