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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Shooting family issue police challenge
Xanthe and Victor Bates
Xanthe and Victor Bates were badly beaten
The family of a woman killed shielding her daughter from armed robbers is calling on the home secretary to put more police officers on the streets.

Marian Bates, 64, was shot in the chest after jumping in front of daughter Xanthe when a robber produced a handgun in the family's jewellery shop in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, on Tuesday.

David Blunkett, in his Labour conference speech on Thursday, heralded record numbers of police officers and promised to tackle gun crime.

But Mrs Bates' husband Victor, who was struck with a crowbar in the attack, said: "It's all very well having record numbers of officers - but what are they doing and where are they when we need them?"

It used to be that we knew the names of the local officers - but now it's lucky if we see one
Xanthe Bates

And her daughters Naomi and Xanthe challenged the government to "put their money where their mouth is" on crime.

Mr Blunkett promised conference delegates Mrs Bates' killer would be brought to justice.

Her shooting had revealed the severity of gun crime in the UK, he added.

"It's a terrible tragedy Marian Bates should have been shot. My heart goes out to her family," he said.

Mr Bates, who was married to his wife for 42 years, said he had "no argument" with Mr Blunkett or Prime Minister Tony Blair, but said they needed to "make changes" in how the country was policed.

Marian Bates
Marian Bates died protecting her daughter

They had to "persuade forces like Nottinghamshire to put officers back where people can see them," he said.

The 64-year-old, whose grandfather and brother-in-law were police officers, added: "Instead of being on the streets and preventing crime, they are stuck in rooms, forming committees to investigate the relatives of drug dealers.

"Many of my friends are senior police officers and some of them have tears in their eyes when we talk about modern policing.

"Two years ago, when a man tried to stab Xanthe in the shop I wrote to the police, to solicitors and to the Crown Prosecution Service and asked them if it would take someone to die before they protected us.

I am angry, my officers are angry
Chief Constable Steve Green,
Nottinghamshire Police

"That man was never charged, all because we couldn't identify him in a line up.

"But I sent off letters and talked to everyone I could to ask for more help."

Xanthe, who was badly beaten in the attack, said: "My dad made several reports in the local papers over the past few years about how police should be back on our streets.

"It used to be that we knew the names of the local officers - but now it's lucky if we see one."

The 34-year-old said Mr Blunkett "needs policemen that are approachable on the streets of Britain... we should not have to live like this".

The Bates' jewellery shop in Arnold, Nottinghamshire
Marian died at the family's jewellery shop in Arnold, Nottinghamshire

She also appealed for help in finding who shot her mother.

"Someone knows who did this. Their mother might know, or their girlfriend.

"There's someone's son or brother who has done this to our family."

Police say a key witness has now come forward.

He is the van driver who confronted the robbers as they fled from the scene on Front Street.

Nottinghamshire Police Authority has called an emergency meeting to be held next Thursday to discuss the incident.

It is expected to ask the Home Office for more money to tackle gun crime.

Nottinghamshire Chief Constable Steve Green, said: "I am angry, my officers are angry.

"Our resources are stretched to the very limit dealing with the type of tough street crime issues usually associated with large metropolitan areas."




SEE ALSO:
Blunkett focuses on fear of crime
02 Oct 03  |  Politics
Blunkett says killer will be found
02 Oct 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Mother shot saving daughter
01 Oct 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Public 'tried to stop killers'
01 Oct 03  |  Nottinghamshire


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