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Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez says ‘people are losing faith in our ability to control our streets’ after the murder of Jodie Chesney

PUBLISHED: 18:02 05 March 2019

MP Julia Lopez speaking in the Commons yesterday.

MP Julia Lopez speaking in the Commons yesterday.

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Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez has said people are losing faith in the Government’s ability to control the streets, following the murder of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill last week.

Flowers laid at the scene of the murder of 17 year old Jodie Chesney.Flowers laid at the scene of the murder of 17 year old Jodie Chesney.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday (Monday, March 4) Mrs Lopez said: “On Friday night my community saw the despicable murder of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill, if the Governments serious violence strategy is to work we need to have confidence that all parts of the system are adequately resourced.

“She was a bright, beautiful and kind young woman and she did not deserve to die in this way.

“Mr Speaker the public are losing faith in our ability to control our streets, and they need to see and feel a step change in our response to public safety concerns.

“Can he tell me what he’s doing at all levels of governance, at home secretary level, at prime ministerial level, at mayoral level and at local council level to draw together our response to these tragic events, and will he join me in paying tribute to the members of the community and the police officers that came to Jodie’s aid when she was lying in her final moments.”

Police at the scene of the murder of 17 year old Jodie Chesney where floral tributes have been left.Police at the scene of the murder of 17 year old Jodie Chesney where floral tributes have been left.

MP Sajid Javid in response said: “Mr Speaker. Can I thank my honourable friend for what she has said, and also remind the house of the tragic loss of life, when Jodie died, and was murdered this weekend.

“As I said earlier the whole house will want to send their condolences to her family, and her lvoed ones.

“She’s also right to point to the work of the police and the emergency services and how they responded to the tragedy, and of course I would join her in commending their work.

“She’s asked me about the work that is being done across government, this is a priority for all of government across all departments some more important to this than others.

Flowers laid at the scene of the murder of 17 year old Jodie Chesney.Flowers laid at the scene of the murder of 17 year old Jodie Chesney.

“Obviously starting with my own, but also the work, and we’ve heard in this house of education, of health and also of communities and local governance.

“For example the extra funding the secretary of state in that department has announced a troubled families programmed to try and help reduce violence aswell. But it is that kind of approach that is going to be required to make a huge change here and to reduce this senseless violence.

“It’s going to be necessary for all Government departments and public agencies to work together and that means not just resources that means co-ordination but also this new statutory approach that I think will make a big difference.”

Speaking about the death of Jodie Chesney Mrs Lopez told the Recorder: “The act of violence that took place in my constituency on Friday night was so brutal, so senseless, so disproportionate, that it defies any understanding.

“Jodie Chesney was only seventeen years old when she was murdered in a Harold Hill park, and the indiscriminate savagery shown to her stirs intense rage in us all.

“Jodie was not a constituent of mine but went to our local sixth form college and was, by all accounts, a warm, engaged and kind student.

“What has her death achieved for her murderer beyond the wanton devastation of her family, boyfriend and friends, and the lost potential of a bright young woman?

“Over the course of the weekend I have been in contact with our Borough Police Commander and his Deputy, as well as Mayor Sadiq Khan and his team.

“Some of the police officers who came to Jodie’s aid on Friday night were back on shift the very next morning, showing enormous dedication and resilience despite bearing witness to the most distressing of scenes.

“What does seem clear from my eighteen months as an outer London MP, however, is that the kind of crime that we may once have associated mainly with our inner cities is seeping into the capital’s further reaches. Official statistics do not always reflect perceptions on the ground, and when a knife is threatened in a street mugging or an act of violence takes place in a quiet suburban area, confidence in law and order can rapidly be lost. If young people begin to feel unsafe, the temptation only increases for them to carry a weapon too, so it is important not to let such perceptions escalate.

“Nobody should pretend these issues are easy to solve.

“After all, the perverse sense of entitlement that allowed someone to see it as their right to steal Jodie’s life, betrays a complete absence of values, decency and human empathy.

“But criminals need to know that our attempts to understand their path to violence will be complemented with a hard-nosed intolerance of the mindless destruction they mete out on innocent young people like Jodie. It is time we showed that communities and streets are within our control, not theirs.”

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