'It needs to change' – Ipswich mum launches knife campaign to save town's youngsters from violence
PUBLISHED: 18:20 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:20 26 June 2018
An Ipswich mum is taking a stand to save young lives from the threat of gangs and violence.
Roxanne Chudleigh said the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in Nacton earlier this month had rocked the community – and it was time for change.
With help from friends, the mum-of-four has launched the Knives Take Lives campaign, printing thousands of posters and stickers and uploading a video which has received more than 7,000 views on Facebook.
Mr Chudleigh, who has also set up Ipswich Against Gangs on Facebook, has met with police and council chiefs, seeking support to rejuvenate the town, such as keeping Murrayside centre open, to give young people alternatives to the drugs and crime which are devastating lives.
“Ipswich used to be such a nice little town but it’s changed so much with the gangs and the violence,” she said.
“We want to make Ipswich great again – this is about being positive and putting something back into the community.
“Tavis has gone and his family are grieving so badly. We need to reach as many kids as we can to stop more lives being lost.”
The campaign’s main aim is to reinforce to young people the dangers of knife crime. Ms Chudleigh says children should be shown graphic images of stabbing victims to shock them into understanding what is at stake.
She claims music videos glamorising drugs and violence have skewed young people’s perceptions, creating the impression that a life of crime can buy flashy new phones and expensive trainers.
“These kids think it’s cool to sell drugs and carry weapons and they all want to be gangsters,” she said.
“But they’re not gangsters, they’re just pathetic, and it needs to change.”
Ms Chudleigh, who lives in Gainsborough and says she has Tavis’s family’s support, claims parents, police and other authorities should be given more freedom to discipline children. She also advocates sending young criminals to carry out National Service to teach them responsibility.
She has thanked friends Jordan Laidlow, Carla Pittock and Kelly Hart for their support and The Five Castles Press for its help printing campaign posters.
Superintendent Kerry Cutler of Suffolk Constabulary has backed the campaign.
“There is no stronger voice than that of a community who want to see change and make a difference,” she added.
“Ipswich Against Gangs is about a community wanting to make a difference and I hope people will listen and support them to ensure young people grow up without the fear of violence or finding themselves drawn into violence.”
Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore have also taken steps to tackle knife crime following the recent violence in the town.
Together, they have funded two new knife amnesty bins for people to dispose of bladed weapons anonymously.
The two bins are in Queen’s Way, near to where Tavis was stabbed to death earlier this month, and Bramford Road.
Visit Ipswich Against Gangs on Facebook to find out more about the campaign.