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Leaders respond to Nacton Road area call for action following murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens

Police presence in Packard Avenue. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police presence in Packard Avenue. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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An action plan has been revealed to address concerns of people living in a neighbourhood rocked by the murder of an Ipswich teenager.

Tributes are left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in Packard Avenue, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTributes are left in memory of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in Packard Avenue, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In response to a meeting held in the wake of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens’ death, leaders announced a number of measures to answer community calls for action.

About 300 people turned out at Nansen Road Baptist Church after the 17-year-old was fatally stabbed in a Packard Avenue on June 2.

Progress on the response to concerns was reviewed this week by a group including the MP, county and borough leaders, police and crime commissioner, and senior officers from the police and councils.

Measures include ensuring the Murrayside Centre remains a community resource and leaving street lights on all night around Queen’s Way.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYTavis Spencer-Aitkens. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

A new CCTV camera was installed for the St Augustine’s recreation ground on Monday, while a meeting for residents about a proposed community garden will be held at the same location on Wednesday.

Police are maintaining a presence in the local area as part of work to reassure the public.

A police pod remains at Packard Avenue; a mobile police station is visiting locations across the town during June; and officers continue to conduct extra patrols while maintaining a dialogue with community leaders to address the concerns of people in the area.

A follow-up community meeting will take place at 7pm on June 21 at a venue to be confirmed.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens'devastated stepmother Helen Forbes and mother Sharon Box. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTavis Spencer-Aitkens'devastated stepmother Helen Forbes and mother Sharon Box. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The meeting will focus on how leaders have responded to calls for action, while outlining the next steps, including opportunities for residents to work more closely with the police and councils to improve the area, access funding and ensure voices are heard.

Ipswich Borough Council leader, David Ellesmere said: “We are all working together to make a difference to this community in the wake of an appalling tragedy.

“We have listened and we shall go on listening.

“Where we can act quickly, we have, such as leaving streetlights on, installing more CCTV, helping Ipswich Boxing Club find a new home and starting work on a community garden.

“But much more has to be, and will be done, and we shall be inviting local people to another meeting next week to discuss progress and the next steps we can take together.”

Gangs and knife crime are two new scenarios included in the latest Crucial Crew child safety campaign – a borough council-run personal safety scheme for children aged 10 and 11.

The gangs scenario is delivered by Volunteering Matters, with support from the Youth Offending Team, and encourages children to become characters in a story, answering questions along the way and making decisions that could expose them to possible dangers like being approached by gang members and asked to carry packages.

More than 38,000 children have attended Crucial Crew in Ipswich since it started in 1994.

Measures to answer community calls for action in the Nacton area of Ipswich:

•Ensure the Murrayside Centre will not be demolished and develop plans to work with local people and community groups to give it a new lease of life as a valuable community resource.

•Leave street lights on all night in the area around Queen’s Way – remaining lit for as long as required and not switched off without consulting local people.

•Confirm the Queen’s Way CCTV camera is working and make arrangements for a new camera for the St Augustine’s recreation ground.

•Set up a meeting about a proposed community garden.

•Help the Ipswich Boxing Club secure a new base at Altitude Business Park, off Nacton Road.

•Making funded places available to local people on the Principles of Youth Work course.

•Allocating youth workers to the area.

•Raising the issue of knife crime and the killing of Tavis in the House of Commons – Ipswich MP seeking a date to meet the Home Secretary and a group of young people from Ipswich.

•Agreement for a long-term commitment for grant-funding schemes to help local projects.

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