Armed police have fired their guns more times by mistake than in the line of duty.
A Daily Mirror investigation revealed officers have shot each other, hit patrol cars and blasted a range of household items in a two-year catalogue of blunders.
One gun cop even shot himself by accident.
Police opened fire 46 times in error between January 2006 and March 2008. In the same period marksmen used their guns in real threats 18 times.
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The worrying statistics call into question the competence and training of the 14,200 officers authorised to carry firearms in England, Wales and Ulster.
Gun Control Network chair Gill Marshall-Andrews said: "Even highly-trained police are prone to accidents and mistakes which can have dreadful consequences.
"It's lucky no officer has been killed by a colleague yet."
Since 2006 two officers have been accidentally shot and one civilian police worker was hit - during a gun awareness training session.
Five patrol cars and two private vehicles have been damaged by wayward bullets - none fired in the line of duty.
More than a third of Britain's negligent gun blasts happened in Northern Ireland, where all officers carry weapons. In London there were nine discharges made in error and three in Bedfordshire, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Police have also used guns to shoot dead rogue animals.
Guidelines for armed officers are issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
West Mercia's Deputy Chief Constable Ian Arundale insisted firearms training in Britain is "among the best in the world".
He added: "Whilst any accidental 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.
"Every incident of accidental discharge is fully investigated.
Where negligence does occur, individuals are dealt with accordingly."
Five members of the public have been shot dead by cops since January 2006, including barrister Mark Saunders last month
Police mistakes that have happened in the line of fire
- A clumsy marksman shot a hole in the seat and floor pan of a police car in Cheshunt, Herts. Four other police vehicles have also been hit
- Police control room worker Keith Tilbury shot in the stomach during training session at the Thames Valley Police headquarters in Kidlington, Oxon, in May last year
- Cop blasted in the chest with a shotgun at the police firing range at Gatwick Airport in August last year. Body armour saved the PC from serious injury
- West Mercia police officer shot himself in the leg and foot when his gun got caught in his clothing in January 2006
- 18 bullets used in the "humane destruction" of two bullocks by Cambridgeshire Police. Four officers repeatedly blasted the animals in the village of March in November 2006
- A caravan, a mattress, one kitchen oven, a hot water tank and a cabinet have also been "accidentally" hit by police officers - along with two privately-owned cars, floor tiles, walls and a skirting board
'More guns mean more blunders', analysis by Roger Gray
Firearms training is rigorous.
Re-qualification in handling and tactics is undertaken every five weeks but the policy of creating highly trained officers is being overrun by increasing need.
While there are negligent discharges there can be no excuse for careless handling.
But I feel it's inevitable - the more weapons are loaded and unloaded, the more likely there will be accidents, mostly in the confines of the range.
But ultimately, preservation of life is our profound desire.