'A legacy for Jodie': Bleed control kits issued around Havering to tackle knife crime after Harold Hill murder

For Jodie founders and TASAL

ForJodieProject founders Andy Dodkins and Anna Skipworth hold up their small public access bleed control kit. Stephen Gowers, founder of Take a Knife Save a Life, holds up a cheque donation from Echo League. - Credit: ForJodieProject/TAKSAL

Groups set up to tackle knife crime after the Jodie Chesney tragedy are collaborating to ensure bleed control kits and first aid training are available across Havering. 

Dagenham girl scout Jodie, 17, was murdered in an unprovoked attack in Amy’s Park, St Neot’s Road, Harold Hill in 2019.  

Stephen Gowers holds up a cheque

Founder of TAKSAL, Stephen Gowers, received a cheque donation made to his charity for £500 from Echo Junior Football League this month. - Credit: TAKSAL

Following the incident, Stephen Gowers, 40, founded anti-knife crime charity Take a Knife Save a Life (TAKSAL), which hoped to keep the community safe with street patrols of volunteers. 

In memory of Jodie, scouts Andy Dodkins and Anna Skipworth set up the ForJodieProject to equip people with emergency aid training.  

The duo also wanted to put bleed control kits in key locations where knife crime may take place.  

For Jodie

ForJodieProject founders Andy Dodkins and Anna Skipworth. - Credit: ForJodieProject

Stephen said: “I feel there is a mutual connection as the two campaigns were born from the same tragedy and I’m chuffed we can create a legacy for Jodie together as she was an angel.” 

Bleed kits created by the ForJodieProject have now been placed at the Saxon King Pub near where Jodie was killed and in the Central Park Leisure Centre in Harold Hill.  

Additionally, posters have been put up in Central Park to let the public know where to find the nearest kit.

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Together the charities aim to roll out 100 kits around Havering.  

Andy said: “Many people don’t know how to treat a knife wound or injury that could cause major bleeding and by providing training and equipment, we aim to raise awareness and provide individuals with the confidence to help if they come across another person in need.” 

The ForJodieProject has worked with ProTrainings UK, which has developed free online courses for knife crime and family first aid.  

First aid training

Andy providing first aid training. - Credit: ForJodieProject

Andy added: “We hope that the training will never be needed, but if it is, you will have the confidence and skills to help save someone’s life.” 

Stephen also hopes to introduce the small bleed kits to schools in Havering. 

He said: “We want Havering to be a place of change and supervision and education are key.  

“Our children need to be protected.”  

Isabelle Grant and Monica

Independent Harold Hill Residents' Association' members Isabelle Alexander, Grant MacMaster and Monica Puncheon joined the ForJodieProject and TAKSAL to roll out bleed control kits in Harold Hill. - Credit: TAKSAL

It comes after Havering police acknowledged a rise in reports of people being injured by knife crime last month.  

Purchase the bleed kits at https://www.first-aid-online.co.uk/forjodie-project-public-access-bleed-kits-153-c.asp

TASAL volunteers

TAKSAL volunteers Lynette Gater, Catherine Rogers and Tony Joyett. - Credit: TAKSAL

Knife crime statistics  

Knife possession offences in Havering have reached almost three figures over the last 12 months. 

That is according to statistics released by the Mayor’s Office for Police And Crime (MOPAC) on its weapon-enabled crime dashboard, which says there have been 94 knife possession offences in the borough during the period April 2021 to March 2022.   

According to this dataset, the majority of these 94 offences were recorded in Romford Town ward, where there was a total of 24.  

This total has gone down from April 2019, however, when there were 134 knife possessions recorded in the borough over the rolling 12 months previous.

Boroughs with higher levels of knife possession over the year time period include Tower Hamlets and Newham, with 180 offences each, and Southwark with 209.  

MOPAC’s crime dashboard also found knife crime with injury offences were reported in Havering 56 times in those 12 months, down from 91 in the year before February 2019 but up from 50 in the annual period to February 2021.  

Tower Hamlets was one of the highest boroughs for the number of knife crime with injury offences reported, with 195 recorded in the last year.

However, this number is down from 237 recorded in the year to February 2019.  

Lambeth had the highest number of this offence in London, with 175 reported in the last year.