Munira shares her thoughts and feelings following the tragic deaths of local teenager Hazrat Wali and Sir David Amess MP:
“Over the past weeks, like so many of you, I have been deeply shocked and saddened by two fatal stabbings.
“On Tuesday 12th October, 18-year-old Hazrat Wali – a student at Richmond College – was stabbed to death on Craneford Way fields. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and the whole college community as they come to terms with this tragic incident.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to recognise the bravery of the teachers from Richmond upon Thames School and Hampton High who rushed to Hazrat’s aid. They were overseeing a rugby match between the two schools close to the incident. I know that students and staff at both those schools and at the college are being offered counselling and pastoral support. My thanks too to the local police involved in the investigation and those working with local schools and the community since the incident.
“I know many local residents are understandably extremely concerned regarding safety in the area and knife crime. Following this incident, both the police and college security have stepped up their patrols. I and local councillors will continue to engage with them and the local community in the coming weeks and months to ensure residents feel safer.“The second tragedy, of course, was the brutal murder of my parliamentary colleague, Sir David Amess MP, at his constituency surgery on Friday 15th October.
My colleagues and I remain shell-shocked, and our staff teams – who are equally exposed as they support us – are understandably nervous. Sir David was doing what many of us do week in week out as constituency MPs, meeting with local residents and hearing their concerns.
“Whilst there is rightly a review of MPs’ security underway, I want to reassure residents that I will continue to be out and about in the community.
“Since my election, I have received good security advice and support from my personal security advisor at the House of Commons. I am very thankful that I have not received very much online or verbal abuse and no threats to my own personal safety or my family.
I recognise many other MPs have a very different experience and appropriate measures should be considered accordingly.
“We must never forget that our dedicated staff are often the frontline for MPs in terms of correspondence, social media and assisting us in our local engagement. They need to feel equally safe and secure in the vital role they do in supporting MPs to serve our residents.
“Democracy only works when we have open and free dialogue between elected representatives and the people they serve. Maintaining this seems the best tribute I can pay to Sir David Amess, and his lifetime of public service.
I am very grateful for the lovely messages of support I have had from a number of constituents during this time. It is a privilege to serve you.”