'I saw someone on the floor being resuscitated. She was in a bad way'

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The Independent Online

The two women police officers would have had little time to worry about their own safety when they received calls on their radios about an armed robbery at a travel agency in Bradford city centre yesterday afternoon.

Details are still sketchy, but one report suggested that members of staff at the family-run business - Universal Express in Morley Street - were hit in the face during the raid and money was taken.

It is a busy area - a mixture of student accommodation, restaurants and family homes - between the Bradford Museum of Photography and the university and close to the famous Alhambra theatre, so the police officers would have been keen to ensure the public's safety. Their own safety was another matter.

As the two PCs arrived, they came under fire and both were hit. One eyewitness reported seeing three robbers and there were unconfirmed reports that a semi-automatic machinegun was used.

The PC who died is believed to have been in her mid-thirties and a "probationer" - an officer with less than two years' service - based at Eccleshill, in north Bradford.

Amer Khan, 24, was eating in the International Restaurant next door to the travel agents, which is owned by a Mr M Usaf and is believed to employ three people, when he noticed a commotion outside.

Mr Khan said: "I looked out of the window and saw something going on and people running about. I could tell it was something serious so I went outside to look and saw a woman lying on the floor being resuscitated.

"I could tell she was a policewoman because she had one of those yellow jackets lying next to her as if they'd taken it off to try and save her. She was in a bad way. It looked bad."

He said a couple of members of the public and a policeman were trying to help her for about three minutes before ambulances arrived. "We were moved away because they were clearing the area while she was still lying there, but I saw the ambulance leave about 15 minutes later," he recalled.

Another witness said the second police officer also received treatment at the scene. Ambulances took the pair to Bradford Royal Infirmary where the wounded officer arrived "still conscious", according to one report. For several hours, the extent of her injuries was unclear, although sources indicated they may not be life threatening.

Mr Amer said the scene quickly became chaotic: "Within minutes the place was swarming with police cars and ambulances and they were trying to clear everyone away."

Dozens of other officers, some armed and others wearing protective vests, patrolled the cordoned-off area and numerous police vehicles were at the scene.

A short while later scene-of-crime officers arrived in unmarked white vans and began the painstaking process of photographing the scene and conducting a full search to recover clues and evidence.

At about 6.40pm, police confirmed that the gunmen responsible for the shootings were still at large. It was reported later that both the policewomen were unarmed and were not wearing body armour.