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Iconic knife angel draws crowds in Stoke

Have you seen the iconic knife angel in Stoke?

Whether you’ve heard about it or not you’re in for something of a surprise if you nip down to Hanley before the end of the month.

For the Knife Angel is an incredible 27-foot statue made up of 100,000 knives and blades confiscated by police forces up and down the country.

And it’s quite a sight to be held in its position at Smithfield.

The national monument acts as a stark warning of the dangers of knife crime. It is in the city as part of a national tour alongside a month of education and awareness on knife crime, and a knife amnesty.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for leisure, culture and public health said: “It is a really poignant piece of art work and adds to the diversity of the cultural landscape on offer here in Stoke-on-Trent.

“I hope that people from all across the region will come and visit this striking sculpture, and that by having it here, that it can support work to make our streets safer.”

Throughout this month a general weapons amnesty, organised by Staffordshire Police, is being held in the form of a ‘surrender’ secure bin which travels with the angel. Young people are also becoming National Anti-Violence Champions.

Rob Hessell, Chief Inspector at Staffordshire Police, said 1,800 of the knives used in the sculpture were from amnesties in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

“The education and engagement activities organised encourage open and honest discussions about knife crime. We also need parents to speak children about the issues, about their thoughts, worries etc around it and explain the consequences of carrying. While some young people pick up a knife to feel safer, they don’t realise that carrying it makes them more likely to get into serious danger. A knife can escalate things way out of your control, and make a bad situation much worse.”

The iconic statue was the brainchild of British Ironwork Centre’s Clive Knowles, and crafted by artist Alfie Bradley.

Clive’s ambition was to seize the country’s attention and bring the issue of knife crime to the forefront of society’s agenda. Clive contacted and met with families affected by knife crime and presented his vision to the Home Office, accompanied by several mothers. He requested permission to collect knives from all of the UK’s police forces.

Not only does the angel act as a catalysis for turning the tide on violent and aggressive behaviour, it also acts as a memorial designed to celebrate lives lost through violence.

Joel Chandler, from Genr8 Developments, the developer of the Smithfield site, said: “It holds a significant message and hopefully will provide a good opportunity for our communities to come together and educate.”

Council Leader Abi Brown added: “Knife crime sadly remains a serious issue within many communities right across the country. We’re committed to working in partnership to tackle it here in Stoke-on-Trent. The Knife Angel builds on really important work that is being delivered under Operation Sceptre, a campaign with Staffordshire Police to draw attention to the harm caused by knife crime and to take action against perpetrators. This work saw a week of co-ordinated activities take place in the city last November, with knife amnesty bins available. It drew attention to the deeply traumatic stories of families who have lost loved ones and been torn apart through knife crime.

“We have staged education and drama workshops with young people to highlight the dangers of carrying a blade. The presence of the Knife Angel in the city reinforces the work that is already underway, and we encourage as many people as possible to visit it.”

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