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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 12:39 GMT
Policewoman, 23, shot in burglary
Rachael Bown
Rachael Bown is in a "serious" condition
A woman police officer was shot and seriously injured as she investigated a burglary in Nottingham.

Probationary officer Rachael Bown, 23, was attacked as she attempted to stop a man near the scene of a break-in at Lenton shortly before midnight.

Police said as Pc Bown challenged the suspect he drew a firearm and opened fire, hitting her in the stomach.

The officer, who was wearing a stab vest, is in a "serious" condition at the city's Queen's Medical Centre.

'Experienced colleague '

She was taken to the hospital's intensive care unit shortly after 0500 GMT after undergoing emergency surgery. Her family are with her at the hospital.

No one was arrested in the incident.

Ch Supt Marcus Beale, the divisional commander for Nottingham city, said Pc Bown had attended the incident at Lenton Boulevard with a long-serving colleague.

Lenton Boulevard
Police forensic teams were at the scene

He said: "She was just coming to the end of her two-year probationary period and was working last night with an experienced colleague who [has] something like 15 or 16 years' service.

"She was wearing body armour. Unfortunately, she has been shot below where that body armour protects, which is a great shame."

Pc Bown was wearing the standard issue equipment used by Nottinghamshire Police which is stab proof which has a level of protection against bullets.

Student Alex Wyatt, 21, who lives in the house where Pc Bown was shot, said his housemate, Jody Ottery, was in the property when an intruder broke in.

"From what I understand, he was on the first floor in his bedroom when he heard a window smash and someone force their way through the front door," he said.

"He came downstairs and saw this guy who just ran, so he called the police."

Map of Lenton

Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South, said that the shooting highlighted several areas of concern.

"There are two sets of issues to be addressed. One is the adequacy of current body armour, and I'll be talking about that with the police later," he said.

"The second is the question of how we're dealing with the availability of guns on the streets and the prospect of them entering into more routine crimes that had traditionally not been associated with guns."

'Known criminals'

Victor Bates, whose wife Marian was shot dead by armed robbers at their jewellery shop in Arnold in September 2003, said the incidence of gun crime in Nottingham was now an "emergency" and police action had failed to combat the problem.

He said: "One cannot see anything that's been done to control the number of guns in Nottingham.

"What we need are much more rigorous police methods. We need stop and search, we need the premises of known criminals searched on a regular basis, so that the guns may be taken out of society."

Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council, has insisted that gun crime is still rare in the city.

Councillor Collins said the police and the council, working together, had made "great strides" in tackling the problem.

'Shocking incident'

He said: "I am shocked and saddened by the news that Rachael Bown was shot.

"Whilst this is a shocking incident, gun crime is an increasingly rare occurrence."

In recent years Nottingham has been at the centre of a number of high-profile incidents involving gun-related crime.

Two years after the Marian Bates case, two gangland thugs were convicted of the murder of schoolgirl Danielle Beccan, 14, in a drive-by shooting in October 2004.

However, police say the number of shootings fell by 74% in 2005.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear how the shooting took place



SEE ALSO:
City fighting 'gun capital' tag
14 Feb 06 |  Nottinghamshire
Shooting figures decline in city
11 Jan 06 |  Nottinghamshire
City 'plagued by gangs and guns'
12 Oct 05 |  England
Anti-gun crime strategy unveiled
27 Jun 05 |  Nottinghamshire
Gun crime victims tell of anguish
15 Mar 05 |  Nottinghamshire


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