Community attend second public meeting in wake of Ipswich teenager’s death
- Credit: GEMMA MITCHELL
Actions taken to curb violence and drug culture in an Ipswich estate will be driven by the voices of community members, leaders have vowed.
The pledge was made at a public meeting tonight where authorities set out what has, and will be done to address concerns raised after 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was killed in early June and another teenager was allegedly stabbed less than two weeks later in the Nacton area of the town.
The meeting tonight at Inspire Suffolk in Lindbergh Road was a follow up to another at Nansen Road Baptist Church just two days after Tavis’ death where local people accused leaders of taking away activities for young people in the estate.
Promises have since made of further investment in facilities, better engagement between authorities and the community and a greater police presence.
Phanuel Mutumburi, business and operations director at Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), told tonight’s meeting that the charity was going to launch a “reference group” involving people living in the area who would have a say in how funds would be spent, and what changes would be made to make Nacton safe.
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He said: “We feel it’s important that the community are leading on this agenda.”
A round of applause was made after Suffolk County Council leader, Matthew Hicks, announced that the area’s Murrayside centre would stay open for community use – and benefit from a £100,000 renovation.
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However, work cannot start on carrying out the repairs needed for the building to get up and running until the existing tenants leave at the end of August.
This sparked questions from members of the public about where schoolchildren could go over the summer holidays.
One woman in the audience, who organises the Gainsborough Community Fun Day in Landseer Park, revealed that authorities had taken the decision to postpone the event at just three weeks’ notice, and demanded answers as to why.
Assistant chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary, Rachel Kearton, said this was partly down to police resources being tied up with Latitude festival and supporting colleagues in London with the Donald Trump visit that same weekend.
The woman called for Ipswich Borough Council to fund private security for the event.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said the police force was committing vast resources to tackle drug activity in the area.
Anyone who wants to join the reference group should email firstname.lastname@example.org before July 1.