Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Two British officers shot, one fatally, reopening debate about arming police

Police hunting for a gang of men who shot and killed an unarmed policewoman and wounded another arrested six people on Saturday in connection with the crime, officials said.

The shooting in the northern city of Bradford on Friday has reignited a long-standing debate in &to=' target=_blank>Britain over whether front-line police officers _ the majority of whom are unarmed _ should be allowed to carry weapons. It also prompted a former senior police officer to call for the death penalty to be introduced for criminals convicted of killing officers.

The two women, both rookie officers in their 30s, were shot when they tried to tackle a gang of three men who had robbed a travel agency in Bradford city center.

Constable Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, died from a gunshot wound to the chest, despite wearing body armor. The mother of three children and two stepchildren had been a full time officer for just nine months, West Yorkshire Police said. She was killed on her youngest daughter's fourth birthday.

Her colleague, Constable Teresa Milburn, 37, received a shoulder wound and was being treated in a local hospital. Milburn, who has a 16-year-old son and joined the force in April 2004, also wore body armor. Neither were carrying firearms.

London's Metropolitan Police said its officers had arrested five men and a woman in connection with the incident. All were in custody and being questioned by police, who released no further details. But the hunt for the three robbers, who were armed with a knife and a gun, continued.

Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan told reporters that the officers drove to the Universal Express travel agency after an alarm was triggered during the robbery. One of the men opened fire on the officers as they arrived at the scene.