MORE than 50 campaigners marched across Southend in a peaceful protest against knife-crime in Southend. 

On Saturday, the large grouped walked from Pier Hill to the Civic Centre on Victoria Avenue armed with banners to call on people to put down their weapons. 

Fears are growing among Southend residents after a number of high profile knife crimes in the town. 

Luke Bellfield, 18, was stabbed to death in Old Leigh on February 26. He suffered a stab wound to the heart. 

The fatal stabbing of Southend West MP Sir David Amess sent shockwaves through the community, while a man was stabbed in Southend High Street in the early hours of October 24. 

Joshua English, one of the organisers, said the protest went well but they was disappointed more residents didn’t attend and show their support for the fight against knife-crime. 

He said: “The aim was to raise awareness about knife crime and to question why our police numbers have been cut over the last 10 years.

“The protest went really well, all the people that were on the Facebook event page were passionate about it.

“We were a bit upset though as we had handed out over 600 flyers to the general pupils but barely any turned up.”

The organisers of the protest were Joshua English, Jay Russinger, Jasmine Jaya Nykerk, Tasha Horner and Lewis Ward.

Joshua, explained how after one the organisers was stabbed previously, it alerted them to the problem and encouraged them to take action..

He added: “One of the organisers got stabbed at an event so we all decided to come together, as we realised there have been so many stabbing in Southend recently, including Sir David Amess, so we decided to stand up to it.

“We just want to stop knife crime, we need the police to increase patrols and their presence on the streets, we also need a youth centre and more of a community.”

A spokesperson for Essex Police insisted the force is doing all it can to crackdown on knife crime across the county. 

They said: “Every day we’re identifying criminals, making arrests, and charging people with crimes and we’re putting huge efforts into tackling serious and violent crimes, including knife crime.

“Knife crime and violence is not an issue the police can tackle alone, and we work with partners to address it. 

“We work with organisations and charities to help people make positive changes to their lives.”

The group have another peaceful protest planned on January 25, as well as a charity event called ‘skank’ on December 11.

For more information on the group and further peaceful protests, visit the Southend Stand Up Facebook page.