Hundreds of residents marched through Southend High Street today to demand safer streets. 

A peace procession, led by Southend rapper Sonny Green, chanted 'more love, more peace, on Southend streets' in response to the fatal stabbing of Fabian Kacica, 19, on Monday. 

The demonstration, during which leaders demanded increased police  presence and a greater focus of youth programmes, followed a heated public meeting at The Forum, led by senior police officers and Southend councillors. 

More than 100 people arrived at the march, which met at 1pm outside WH Smith in Southend High Street, with many more joining as the procession walked to the bottom of Pier Hill. 

March organiser Sonny, 23, who lives in Southchurch, said: "We had an incredible turnout, and we are just focused on community building, and making it a better place for people to live.

"The atmosphere in the meeting was quite anxious and fearful, because the police and the council have a lot to answer to, and they can't give us the answers we need. 

"It all comes down to the people, they are who really matter, and so it's important that they speak out even when they're under a lot of pressure. 

"The people of Southend do care, they do want to make it a better place, but the only way we are going to do that is by being positive."

Video: Scenes from the Southend peace march, including a moments silence outside The Forum for victim Fabian Kacica.

The march was preceded by a public meeting, led by senior Essex Police officers including Southend District Commander Chief Inspector Neil Pudney and Councillor Mark Flewitt, portfolio holder for public protection.

Tensions were high at the meeting, as members of the public had the opportunity to submit their concerns about street safety and a percieved lack of police presence. 

Several attendees walked out of the meeting in frustration as talks between officials and the public broke down.

Prior to the meeting, CI Pudney said: "The rise in violent crime, particularly knife crime is a worrying national trend, but it is not specifically a Southend problem. 

"I can understand why people are concerned about their safety and their frustrations about the number of police on our streets, but I do feel it is important to provide some context to these incidents. 

"These are not random, rampant attacks happening on our streets, they are targeted acts of violence. Four per cent of violent crime in Southend includes the use of a knife, which in my view is four per cent too many, but I want to assure the public that knife crime is in no way an epidemic in our borough. 

"This isn't just a police issue, it's a community issue - everyone has a role to play, from parents, to business owners, to teachers, to faith leaders, to social workers, all different members of our community need to come together to work preventatively."