Officers use rubber bullets as man is arrested in city park

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WEST Yorkshire Police officers used rubber bullets to shoot an alleged gunman in a Leeds park – in what is thought to be a first for the force.

Officers fired at the man with baton rounds after reports he was marauding through Armley in Leeds with a firearm yesterday morning.

Police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), will now consider investigating the West Yorkshire force’s handling of the arrest after the suspect was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.

Officers were called to Armley Park at about 6.30am.

A spokesman said: “Police were called to Stanningley Road, Armley, after reports of a man in possession of a hand gun.

“Officers promptly attended and the man was arrested.

“The arrested man – a 20-year-old – was taken to Leeds General Infirmary as a precaution but is not seriously injured.”

The park remained taped off for much of the morning amid rumours circulating on Twitter that a body had been found.

West Yorkshire Police said those claims were unfounded.

The force said the matter would be referred to the IPCC.

An IPCC spokesman said: “We are awaiting a formal referral which will be assessed to determine whether we need to be involved in an investigation.”

Police can only use baton rounds when other methods of maintaining order have failed, or when there is a risk of death, serious injury or major property damage.

In 2005, Simon Murden, a 26-year-old from Beverley, was shot dead by Humberside Police near Hull after attempts to subdue him with baton rounds failed, but yesterday’s incident was thought to be the first time rubber bullets have been used in West Yorkshire.

The arrest yesterday was the second in Leeds in a week which has been referred to the IPCC.

West Yorkshire Police made a referral to the watchdog following an incident in which a man was knocked down by an unmarked police car in the city centre after allegedly brandishing a knife at Leeds Crown Court last Thursday.

The 35-year-old was taken to hospital for treatment to a dislocated shoulder after the incident.