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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 19:20 GMT 20:20 UK
Police officer stabbed to death
An officer by a cordoned off house near the scene of the fatal stabbing
The attack happened near Spaghetti Junction
A police officer has been stabbed to death as he tried to arrest a suspect in Birmingham.

West Midlands Police said Det Con Michael Swindells, 44, was knifed in the abdomen in the Nechells area of the city on Friday morning.

A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and is due to be questioned by detectives in connection with the death.

Several locations in the area have been cordoned off.

Mr Swindells, a married father-of-one, is thought to have been in Cuckoo Road immediately before he was attacked.

Speaking at a news conference, Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee said officers had been in the area investigating reports of a man with a knife.

Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee
When you are in the police service every day you work with heroes but you do not know it
Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee
West Midlands Police
The stabbing is believed to have happened a few hundred yards away, near Spaghetti Junction.

Mr Swindells had been a police officer for almost 14 years and worked at Queens Road police station in Aston.

"Today is a tragic day whichever way you look at it," Mr Scott-Lee said.

"I have been, this afternoon, with the widow of a very brave officer.

"She and her daughter are coming to terms with the death of a loved one and we will come to terms with the death of a colleague.

"When you are in the police service every day you work with heroes but you do not know it.

"We will work tirelessly to put the offender before the courts."

Map of Nechells, Birmingham
Speaking before the conference, Paul Tonks, of the Police Federation in the West Midlands, said that when he heard the officer had died, it "sent a cold shiver down my spine".

Mr Tonks said officers in the West Midlands force were routinely issued with body armour but he did not know if the officer had been wearing it.

He described the carrying of knives as "all too prevalent", adding that it was not as bad in the UK as in some other countries.

Mr Tonks said Nechells was an area of the city in which he himself had worked.

"Nechells is like any other area - the role is not predictable, the role is dangerous and unfortunately officers do lose their lives.

Neighbourhood improving

"This just highlights how difficult the role is that we undertake," he said.

Gulfram Khan, a businessman in Nechells, said the area has been getting safer in recent years.

"We're a tough neighbourhood but it's not that bad.

"Any type of killing like this just sends people into shock.

"It is a tough neighbourhood but over the past couple of years we have improved all round."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Peter Lane
"Locals have expressed their shock"



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