Residents march to Dagenham East police station in knife crime protest
- Credit: Ellie Hoskins
Protestors against the increasing rate of knife crime have marched from Dagenham Heathway to Dagenham East police station.
More police, more stop and searches and automatic prison time for offenders committing knife crime were among the suggestions from the people as they walked the mile to the station.
The residents also wanted softer measures, like more youth centres, to prevent young people from committing knife crime.
Heathway resident Jamie O’Dwyer got the idea for the march after she went on a similar demonstration in Romford.
The Becontree native is 39 and it is the first time she’s been compelled to organise an event like this.
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“This is kids killing each other,” she said.
“My grandson is two, what future has he got? He’s got no future if this carries on.”
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She’s hoping to take the next march to Westminster.
“It’s just a case of all communities coming together. It’s not going t be a quick process.
“It’s going to take a while, but, hopefully, once we start doing, it other people will start doing it and we can all meet up, join forces and go to parliament.”
Even for people who have had no direct experience with knife crime, the senselessness of cases like Jodie Chesney’s have created an atmosphere of fear.
Charley O’Dwyer, 18, is Jamie’s daughter. She said at Dagenham police station that she doesn’t go out after dark anymore.
“It’s about time we come together and get something done.
“All these people are losing their lives for no reason.”
She, along with her friends, think a common-sense measure to prevent knife crime would be to put knives behind the counter like other prohibited items, such as tobacco and alcohol.
Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham council, made a speech at the end of the march.
“We’ve been trying, for two years now, to get more policing, because they are struggling on our streets.
“No young person should have to die just because some one wants to have a different policy that doesn’t work for our community.”
He added that he would continue to appeal to national figures like the prime minister and mayor of London for increased resources and for policies that would help stem this rise in knife crime.