hi-bc-120222-jamie-graham-4col

Jamie Graham, seen in an undated file photo. (CBC)

Victoria police chief Jamie Graham has been reprimanded after his loaded service pistol was found holstered under the driver's seat of his unmarked police car.

In a written statement released Wednesday, Victoria police say the weapon was found on Feb. 17 in Graham's car in the underground parkade at police headquarters while detectives were looking for missing equipment — a search that included the entire building and all police vehicles.

Victoria Police Department policy dictates firearms stored at headquarters "must be unloaded, placed inside a locking drawer within a locked locker, and not be left unattended," according to the statement.

Police say Graham came forward to Mayor Dean Fortin, head of the police board, and "took full responsibility" for the error, which is characterized as "neglect of duty" under the Police Act.

"Just as I expect every member of this department to take full responsibility for their actions, I take responsibility for this incident and I accept the discipline authority's findings," Graham said in a statement.

"The last thing I want is for this inadvertent mistake to cast a shadow over the hard work that the men and women of [the Victoria Police Department] do every day."

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, which oversees internal discipline as well as public complaints, has been notified of the incident.

An internal investigation found Graham was in violation of department procedures concerning the storage of his service pistol and he was handed a written reprimand.

Graham, the former chief of the Vancouver Police Department, resigned from that force in 2007 following a tumultuous five-year term.

In one incident, the police complaints commissioner began investigating Graham for leaving a used target practice sheet with bullet holes through the head of the silhouette on the desk of the city manager.