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Leigh On Sea News. WESTMINSTER Report by Southend West MP Anna Firth.

Leigh On Sea News. WESTMINSTER Report by Southend West MP Anna Firth.

WESTMINSTER Report by Southend West MP Anna Firth.

WESTMINSTER Report by Southend West MP Anna Firth.

As your local MP, I have made a personal commitment to make the streets of Southend West safer, and I am working incredibly hard to ensure that this happens.

I am pleased that the Government has fulfilled a key manifesto pledge to recruit and deliver 20,000 new police officers across the country. I am grateful to Chris Philp, the Policing Minister for supporting my calls for greater police presence in Essex, and we have received 500 new police officers, with Southend receiving over 80 more officers.

These new officers will be patrolling our streets, challenging anti-social behaviour, spreading awareness in schools and across the community and seizing weapons to ensure our beautiful seaside community is kept safe and secure.

Sadly, our young people in Essex have been very clear that knife crime is the biggest fear they have. We owe it to them to do all we can to cut down on the number of knives in our communities.

One knife attack is one knife attack too many, and we must do everything we possibly can to get dangerous knives off our streets and out of the hands of violent criminals.

I am especially worried about the presence of ‘trophy knives’ on our streets – weapons like zombie knives that have absolutely no legitimate use and are specifically designed to cause fear and intimidation. They are all too frequently carried by teenagers. There should be absolutely no place for knives like this in our country.

I have been lobbying the Government very hard to close the loopholes in our current knife laws, and I am very pleased that they have opened a consultation on how to strengthen our knife laws.

I am very supportive of the proposals in the consultation, which include banning more types of dangerous knives, tougher sentences for people who carry knives and increased penalties for people who supply knives to under-18s.

I recently organised a major ‘knife summit’ in Parliament, bringing together the Government Policing Minister, Police Crime Commissioners from across the country and representatives from numerous police forces. The summit was an incredibly valuable opportunity to discuss the proposals the Government has put forward, meaning that I can submit the best possible response to the consultation to ensure that our laws are as tough as they can be.

We all deserve to live in a safe community, and cracking down on knife crime is a key part of this. However, this is not the only thing that I am doing to make our streets safer.

Speeding is one of the biggest killers in Essex and I am determined to try and eliminate all deaths on Essex roads as swiftly as possible.

Ever since I was elected, residents across Leigh have shared with me their concerns about speeding and asked me what can be done. Last year, I set up a petition on my website to see what roads people thought had the most problems. Marine Parade, Flemming Avenue, Leigh Hill, New Road and Grand Parade – all close to the seafront – topped the list.

I joined with Roger Hirst, our Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner to present the petition in Downing Street and call for more to be done to tackle the menace of speeding.

One local initiative I have been supporting to tackle speeding is Community Speed Watch, and I recently joined members of the Chalkwell Ward Residents Association Community Speed Watch group and Roger Hirst for one of their sessions.

Community Speed Watch is a nationwide educational scheme to help residents reduce speeding traffic through their community. Volunteers work within their community to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and to help control the problem at a local level.

Community Speed Watch Volunteers monitor the speed of passing vehicles using a high-quality hand-held speed detection device.

The details of vehicles which are exceeding the speed limit by around 10% are then passed to the Police, who issue a letter to the vehicle owner, advising them of the dangers of speeding. Their data can feed into the relevant parties and make a real change in the local area.

This is a fantastic initiative which will make a real difference to keeping our streets safer.

So, if you see a group in your area, I would really urge you to consider signing up. If you’d like to form a Community Speed Watch group for your local area, or join an existing Community Speed Watch group, contact:  [email protected]

Picture: Anna Firth MP pictured with Policing Minister Chris Philp and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst.


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