ON Sunday May 5th the country saw yet again another teenager to die from stab wounds.
The 18 year old male became the forty fifth person to be fatally stabbed on our Essex streets.
Operation Shutdown, the group of bereaved parents the Enquirer has been following each week now takes it next steps.
On the 23rd April 2019, the group of bereaved parents who form the country’s biggest organisation against knife crime, wrote to the Prime Minister Theresa May and other relevant politicians and party leaders, formally outlining and issuing their 15 demands to date, that include a COBRA meeting immediately.
Since this formal statement was sent to the UK Prime Minister and to these other public servants, they have yet to receive a formal response.
Operation Shutdown is demanding Her Majesty’s Government form an initial COBRA meeting, to get cross departmental government ministers together, to properly deal with this public health emergency and crisis, which is the worse violence on record, since record keeping began; a damning indictment of this current Government.
A spokesperson told The Enquirer: “The primary duty of the Government is to protect its citizens from foreign and domestic threats, but there is no protection for citizens from the increase in and impact of knife crime, serious violence and murder.
“We have seen COBRA used for: the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak, the Westminster bridge terror attack and the air strikes.
“This serious violence and knife crime epidemic is still not being effectively tackled as the national emergency it is.
“All while the death toll continues to rise, communities are increasingly terrified and families are being left bereaved, devastated and heartbroken on a weekly basis”.
The team are demanding a COBRA plan that is holistically a ten year plus, long term public health approach, that includes prevention, early intervention and the disruption of violence and criminal behaviour.
Their next protest will be held outside the Home Office, where they will peacefully reside, for a whole week from 12 noon on Monday 27th May until Sunday 2nd June.
Part of Operation Shutdown are two mums from Havering, east London who have lost their sons to knife crime.
Peguy Kato lost her son Champion on May 9th 2013. Champion was fatally stabbed to death on the streets of Forest Gate when he went to assist his friend who had been provoked and attacked by a group of men.
Following his death Peguy had to sit in court and watch her 17 year old son on CCTV be fatally stabbed, get up to try and run away only to collapse on the floor and die.
Now on the anniversary of his death, Peguy tells The Enquirer, why she has joined Operation Shutdown and how she feels the country has changed for the worse.
“It’s getting worse, it’s just too much. They seem to want blood on our streets as nobody seems to care. Everyday a child is stabbed and it is becoming normality.
“We are sending soldiers to Iraq and all across the country but not using them here on our streets to stop more children from bring murdered. the only change I have witnessed is more death, more and more death. Outside, being on the streets is scary, you fear when you send your children out are they going to come back alive.
“Since my son was killed I don’t sleep at night, the only time I sleep is when all my children are at home and I can lock the door and know they are all safe and at home.”
Peguy is sad that nobody cares about horrors happening on our streets everyday.
“We need the Government to protect our families and its citizens. We spend money to send abroad but what about our own here?
“They can help to stop this if they want to but they don’t. We need more CCTV cameras, we need more police to patrol our streets, to be a visible force in our neighbourhoods.”
The mothers from Operation Shutdown are angry that despite protests, their voices go unheard.
“The Government needs to hear what we are saying” continued Peguy.
“Our children are scared to walk the streets. My 14 year old son asks me to pick him up after going to the cinema, begging me please mum come and get me I don’t want to be stabbed to death. This is how teenagers are growing up now, in fear of dying on our streets. Innocent kids are dying and families are crying.”
On May 14, Ricky Hayden from Romford would have been 30 years old. His mum Sue Hedges, spoke to The Enquirer about the anger she feels that nothing is being done to tackle knife crime and that the Government are not doing what they could to help stop this.
“I feel a lot of anger as we approach Ricky’s 30th birthday. His life was brutally taken away from him and he will not be here to celebrate his 30th as he should have been.”
Ricky was stabbed to death outside of his home when he was 27 years old. Ricky had gone out to approach two males who were attempting to steal his brother’s moped.
“Ricky had his life mapped out before his life was taken away from him. His 30th birthday is a milestone for us as Ricky knew exactly where he wanted to be and wanted he wanted to achieve.
“I will be going over to the crematorium to lay some flowers and be with him. It is a very difficult time and very sad day for us,” continued Sue.
“Ricky was a very family orientated man, the year he died he had been organising my 50th birthday and my dad’s 75th birthday party and obviously none of these went ahead following his murder.”
Sue feels a lot of anger that three years on, not only has nothing changed to stop knife crime but more and more stabbings are taking place every day.
“We need more awareness of what is going on. We need our voices to be heard.
“We are being over looked, nobody cares what happens to working class children.
Stabbings are a norm now and nobody wants to do anything about this.”
These mothers who form Operation Shutdown are once again preparing themselves for another peaceful protest as they will sit outside of the Home Office for an entire week in the hope that somebody in that building will actually come out and hear what they have to say and that firm action can finally be taken to stop the horrors that are blighting our streets everyday.