Durham Police has referred itself to the police watchdog after a man suffered severe injuries while in police custody.

Officers were called shortly after 10pm on Monday August 8 to reports of an assault on Darlington Road in Shildon.

A man was arrested on suspicion of common assault and loaded into a police van.

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He then suffered severe injuries to his ankle after an incident at the scene leaving him needing surgery and spending two weeks in hospital.

No further action was taken in relation to the reported assault.

Durham Police confirmed it has referred itself to police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which said it is deciding whether to investigate.

An IOPC spokesperson said: “We received a referral from Durham Constabulary after a 30-year-old man suffered a broken ankle following his arrest by officers in the Shildon area.

“We are currently assessing the available information to determine whether an investigation is required.”

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Durham Police added in a statement: “Police were called shortly after 10pm on Monday, August 8 following reports of an ongoing assault outside a premises on Darlington Road, in Shildon.

“Officers attended on an immediate response and arrested a man on suspicion of common assault.

“During the incident, the man sustained an injury to his ankle and was taken to hospital for treatment.

“As a result, a mandatory referral has been made by Durham Constabulary to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”