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Woman Pc shot during 'routine call'

An unarmed police officer suffered serious injuries to her head, neck and hand when she was shot during a routine call, sparking a six-hour manhunt for the suspect.

The 33-year-old uniformed officer is believed to have been hit by one blast from a shotgun as she and a male colleague called at an address in the Hyde Park area of Leeds.

The shooting, at about 4am today, sparked a major hunt for suspect James Leslie, 37, who was eventually arrested shortly after 10am, about a mile from the scene of the shooting, near a primary school.

Chief Superintendant Paul Money, of West Yorkshire Police, said he believed his officer was hit by one shot from the gun as she called at a large semi-detached house in Cardigan Lane to "arrest an individual for a criminal damage-type offence".

But, Mr Money said, she was hit in the head, neck and right hand and is now in a poorly but stable and not life-threatening condition in a Leeds hospital.

He said the officer managed to push a panic button to raise the alarm after she was hit and the commander praised her colleague who immediately gave controllers a real-time commentary on the unfolding incident over his personal radio.

"I have spoken and met with the officer's family at the hospital in Leeds and I have reassured them that everything possible is being and will be done to support the officer," Mr Money said as he visited the scene of the shooting.

"Her colleagues were quite understandably upset as well but they are displaying the qualities we so often see from our police officers and police staff in West Yorkshire in traumatic situations.

"When I met them this morning their concerns were around public safety and around supporting the injured officer."

Mr Money said the police operation has now moved from a "manhunt" to a criminal investigation.

The wounded officer has not been named but she is understood to have been in the force for a number of years and recently transferred from a neighbourhood policing team to the response unit.

Armed police and other officers, supported by the force helicopter, swamped the Hyde Park and Headingley areas of Leeds in the hours before Leslie was located this morning.

They said he had fled the scene of the shooting on a bike.

Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Dodd said the arrest, in Wood Lane, Headingley, was made following a call from a member of the public who had spotted a man fitting Leslie's description.

Mr Dodd said: " It is right to say that incidents where police officers face threat from firearms are thankfully very rare but that does not lessen the shocking impact when an officer is injured in such a way."

Hyde Park resident Kieran Williams, 17, said he heard shots from his home behind the scene.

He said he believed the shooting was linked to an altercation he and his housemates had with Leslie yesterday.

He said a woman police officer came round to his house to investigate an allegation a bottle had been thrown at their window in the early hours of this morning and he was concerned that it was the same officer who was injured.

Asked about the incident yesterday, the teenager said: "He was shouting his mouth off and all that, saying he was going to pop bullets in us and slice us up and all that.

"That argument died down but he was carrying on for about five or six hours. He was going on and on and on, slamming his doors and going 'Come out, you faggots, come out, you faggots, I'm going to put bullets in you'."

Kieran said that at about 3.30am he heard "one clean shot and then, like he was holding the gun in the air, like he was firing shots everywhere.

" The policewoman's come out of our house and gone round there to the disturbance, to the man that's threw the bottle through the window and been shot, obviously, hasn't she?"

Ned Liddemore, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said: "This was a cowardly attack on two unarmed police officers dealing with a so-called 'routine' call.

"As has been shown in the early hours of this morning, there is no such thing as a routine call when it comes to police officers."

A large block of houses around the scene of the shooting was cordoned today with police standing guard at regular intervals. Armed police were evident in the area but moved off once Leslie had been arrested.

Forensic officers in white protective suits could be seen working in the large house at the centre of the inquiry. They appeared to be paying particular attention to a back door which had a circular hole in its glass panel.

The quiet lane where Leslie was arrested, close to Shire Oak Church of England Primary School, was also cordoned off.

West Yorkshire chief constable Mark Gilmore said: "I wish to pay a huge tribute to the bravery and selfless dedication of my colleagues who, whilst responding to a routine call about anti-social behaviour today, sustained a violent, unprovoked and brutal attack from a lone gunman.

"I also wish to place on record my sincere appreciation and admiration for my colleagues, who led the subsequent investigation and quickly and professionally brought this very serious criminal incident to a safe conclusion.

"As a result of that determined operational response, a man has now been arrested by West Yorkshire Police and I take this opportunity to reassure the public that there is no continuing threat to the safety of communities within West Yorkshire arising from this incident.

"The injured officer has sustained a severe gunshot injury and my thoughts and best wishes, along with those of our colleagues, remain with both officers and their families at this very difficult time."


From Belfast Telegraph