Detectives in Nottingham have begun a manhunt after a trainee female police officer was shot and seriously injured as she investigated a burglary.
Rachael Bown, a 23-year-old probationary officer, had emergency surgery following the shooting in one of the city's student districts shortly before midnight on Monday. PC Bown was with an experienced male officer, who was not injured, and had tried to stop a suspect who opened fire. She was wearing a standard-issue stab-proof vest, which has some protection against bullets, but was hit below the vest, in the abdomen.
The officer, whose condition was serious but had stabilised last night, may owe her life to the proximity of the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham to the scene of the shooting on the city's busy Lenton Boulevard. Her family were at her bedside in the intensive care unit yesterday.
Nottingham has come to be known as "Assassination City" due to its reputation for gun crime. Five months ago, two gangland criminals were convicted of murdering a schoolgirl, Danielle Beccan, 14, in a drive-by shooting. In September 2003,a jeweller, Marian Bates, 64, was shot and killed during an armed raid.
PC Bown, who is just short of completing her two years' police training, was answering a call to a burglary at a house shared by five students in Lenton when she and her colleague challenged a male suspect and she was shot. It is unclear if the shooting was related to the burglary.
One of the students, Jody Ottery, was alone in the house, in his first-floor bedroom, when he heard a window being smashed and someone forcing their way through the front door. The intruder began to ransack the property. Mr Ottery walked downstairs, saw the burglar run off and the police were called.
PC Bown had worked on an estate on the edge of Nottingham before being moved to the city centre.
Officers were guarding the modern, double-glazed redbrick property late yesterday. The road was cordoned off for more than half a mile as forensics teams searched the area.Nottinghamshire Police have stressed that the rate of gun crime in the city has reduced since the shooting of Danielle Beccan. Only 11 gun-related injuries were recorded in the city in the past 12 months compared to 43 in the preceding 12 months and 77 in the year before that.
But these statistics were of little comfort to students such as May Bate, 21, who, like so many others in neighbourhoods like hers, has become accustomed to burglars who prey on the computers and stereos in districts like Lenton.
"It's mainly burglary and property crime but the idea of guns being involved is worrying. I can't say my mum is happy about me living here," she said.
A housemate of Mr Ottery, Alex Wyatt, 23, said. "We're students and everyone knows we've got [valuables] in the house, so we are targets. But you never expect anything this serious to happen."Reuse content