Man dies after police shooting at 'armed robbery'

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The Independent Online

The police watchdog today launched an independent inquiry after a man was shot dead by police during an operation to stop a suspected armed robbery.

The man, who has not been named, died in hospital after the incident at the Nationwide building society in New Romney, Kent, last night.

Detectives from Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, supported by officers from its specialist firearms unit CO19, had been conducting the operation.

Kent Police initially launched an investigation into the shooting, but that has been taken over by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The Commission will use its own investigators to carry out the inquiry, which will be led by Nicola Williams.

Scotland Yard confirmed that one of the police officers involved in the operation had already been relieved of firearms duties. This is routine in such cases.

Three men were also arrested as part of the operation and they are currently being questioned by detectives.

The Met described last night's operation as "proactive" and said it was designed to "prevent and apprehend" those believed to be involved in an attempted armed robbery of the building society.

However, the force declined to give further details of what happened or comment on the number of shots that were fired during the operation, except to say that it was not terrorist-related.

It is unclear if any money was taken from the building society.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said the shot man was injured at about 8pm and taken by ambulance to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, where he died.

No police officers were injured in the incident, the statement added.

Police recovered a firearm from the scene of the suspected robbery bid which was due to be forensically examined.

An IPCC spokeswoman said its investigators were currently "en route" to the scene of the shooting.

"The Independent Police Complaints Commission is aware of a fatal firearms incident in New Romney, Kent," she said.

"It is understood that officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, including firearms officers from CO19, were attempting to intervene in a criminal act that was under way. During the course of events, a firearm was discharged, fatally wounding a man. The man later died in hospital.

"The matter has been referred to the IPCC by the Metropolitan Police Service. IPCC investigators are en route to the scene to make an assessment and will make a further announcement about the course of action to be taken in due course."

Meanwhile officers from Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards have also been informed.