Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

MP calls for ‘permanent increase’ in Chingford police presence after murder

Chingford MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith is calling for more police officers in Chingford Mount following the murder of James Markham After the 45-year-old [...]

Hero for MP calls for ‘permanent increase’ in Chingford police presence after murder
Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative Party (credit parliament.uk)
By Waltham Forest Echo 19 September 2021

Chingford MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith is calling for more police officers in Chingford Mount following the murder of James Markham

After the 45-year-old father’s death on 9th August, Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker promised residents they would “see additional officers in the area over the coming days”.

In a letter on 8th September, however, Sir Iain Duncan Smith called on him to “permanently increase police presence in Valley ward”, where James was fatally injured outside his home.

His letter pointed out that Valley ward in Chingford only has two police officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Team, whereas nearby Walthamstow wards have up to nine.

He wrote: “I know from my in-depth conversations with local people that they want to personally know their dedicated officers and be reassured by a frequent and visible police presence.

“Too many local shopkeepers [have] not been able to establish any kind of relationship with the local police officers… to impart serious intelligence about what was happening in the area.

“What matters to residents is seeing police officers on the beat and knowing any issues they raise will be dealt with swiftly by officers who know the area and the neighbourhood.”

While the Met Police have yet to respond to a request for comment, council leader Grace Williams warned against reactive responses to violent tragedies in an interview with the Echo.

She said: “Police do need more resources, they have made that point eloquently. If they don’t have enough resources, they get pulled away from particular areas and types of crime.

“But we need to resist just reacting to particular events. The public health approach [to tackling violent crime] starts with under-fives.”

In a statement shortly after the murder, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, Ahsan Khan, said the council had invested heavily in its Violence Reduction Partnership in an effort to “break the cycle” of violence.

He said: “Incidents like this should never happen in our city. There is no excuse for anyone to carry a knife with the intention to cause harm. 

“Waltham Forest Council works hard with a range of partners to tackle at root the factors that draw some of our young people into violence. We know there is more to do [and] we are determined to use all the resources we have available to us to achieve it.”

James was attacked after confronting two youths shouting at his daughter. A 14-year-old boy has since been charged and will enter a plea on 2nd November.