Essex Police chief officers have paid tribute to Sir David Amess in a Book of Condolence which was opened this afternoon as a mark of respect for the Southend West MP.
In it, Chief Constable BJ Harrington repeated his promise that policing partners would deliver justice for Sir David and his family.
After the initial response to the incident at Belfairs Methodist Church, Leigh on Sea, on Friday October 15, the investigation is being led by Counter-Terrorism officers from the Metropolitan Police Service.
Chief Constable BJ Harrington, Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Baldwin, Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow and Southend District Commander Chief Inspector Ian Hughes joined colleagues from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service colleagues to pay their respects to Sir David.
It came after a minute’s silence was held at Southend police station and at Essex Police headquarters, as well as at Southend Civic Centre and Southend fire station.
Speaking after signing the Book of Condolence, Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow, South Local Policing Area Commander, said: “The whole of Southend owes a debt of gratitude to Sir David, who worked tirelessly for the area for 40 years.
“Having long been a champion for Southend, it is of course truly tragic that his main goal in Parliament has been achieved in the days following his sad death, with confirmation today that Southend will be afforded city status by Her Majesty The Queen.
“Today has been a mark of respect for the man – indeed it has been a mark of respect for what will be Essex’s new city.
“His death has shocked the whole of our community and the thoughts of everyone at Essex Police remain with his family and close friends at this tragic time.”
Chief Inspector Ian Hughes added: “Having worked closely with Sir David for many years, I know how dearly he held Southend in his heart. Today, Southend holds him dearly in its heart.
“His death has shocked all who are involved in policing Southend, staff and officers alike, and it is for that reason we held a one-minute silence in his memory this afternoon.
“Every single person here wanted to pay their respects to him. He will not be forgotten, and all our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this awful time.”
The messages from Essex Police officers which are now in the Book of Condolence are below.
Chief Constable BJ Harrington
“Sir David thank you for a life of tireless public service to the people of Southend and Essex, your loss will be felt by all of us who knew you well at Essex Police. We stand united with your family, the community, our partners and policing colleagues in our sorrow and our determination to ensure that justice is delivered.”
Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Baldwin
“Sir David, as the former area commander for Southend, I had the pleasure of working with you and saw first-hand the difference you made to the community. My thoughts and prayers remain with your family and all who knew and worked with you. Thank you for your service to the people of Essex.”
Chief Inspector Ian Hughes
“Sir David, thank you for your service to Southend. It was a privilege to work alongside you to make a difference in the communities of Essex. Our thoughts are with your family, friends and colleagues at this awful time.”
Chief Supt Simon Anslow
Sir David, thank you for everything you did for our community and for being a champion for Southend. We will continue to work with our policing colleagues in the pursuit of justice for you. Our thoughts are with your family at this tragic time.