Shot PC 'upset she did not catch gunman'

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The Independent Online

A policewoman shot as she chased a suspected burglar was worried she had "let everyone down" because she did not catch the gunman, her family said.

Rachael Bown, a probationary PC who was shot in Lenton, Nottingham, just after midnight on Tuesday, feared that she would be sacked. "When she opened her eyes the first thing she said was, 'Sorry dad, I am going to get the sack. I have let everyone down and I did not get him,'" said her father, Martin, a 44-year-old former soldier.

"But that is the sort of girl she is, she is always thinking of others and would hate to think she had let anyone down."

PC Bown, 23, was hit in the abdomen below the level of her body armour seconds after leaping out of the passenger seat of her patrol car, said locals. She was with an experienced male officer hunting a thief who had targeted a student property. She regained consciousness on Tuesday evening at the city's Queen's Medical Centre and is said to be "showing some improvement". Detectives have not released a description of any suspect.

The shooting has reopened the debate on whether rank-and-file police officers should routinely be armed. At Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, Tony Blair acknowledged "far more" must be done to combat gun crime.

Following the attack on PC Bown and the fatal shooting of Sharon Beshenivsky in Bradford in November, David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, asked the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, to conduct a review into the effectiveness of body armour.