Leeds, a city at the forefront of addressing the menace of knife crime, is set to welcome the striking Knife Angel sculpture in February. This monumental artwork, standing an impressive 27ft tall and crafted from over 100,000 confiscated blades, will be positioned outside the Royal Armouries Museum. The installation marks the commencement of an intensified month-long campaign against knife crime starting on February 1.
The Knife Angel, a creation of the British Ironwork Centre, serves as a poignant reminder of the adverse consequences of violent behaviour and underscores the pressing need for societal change. Constructed with seized blades, the sculpture also features messages from families affected by knife crime, transforming it into a poignant memorial commemorating lives lost.
As part of Leeds’ ongoing commitment to combat serious youth violence, a comprehensive program of educational initiatives will run throughout the month. Secondary schools have been granted the opportunity to schedule specialized learning sessions at the Royal Armouries Museum, supported by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, aiming to engage and educate young minds.
In addition, the Youth Service and other youth providers will focus discussions on knife crime throughout February, offering a blend of activities both at the Knife Angel location and within communities.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “Although the rates of knife crime have been falling, it remains a serious issue and has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities.
“We’re looking forward to hosting the Knife Angel sculpture during February, both as a monument to lives we’ve tragically lost, and as a force to help reinforce the work we’ve been doing around how we can change these behaviours as quickly as possible.
“As a city we take knife crime and violence in general very seriously and it’s something we and our partners work hard to address with young people and their parents or guardians. We’d like to encourage everyone to come down and see the sculpture for themselves and not be afraid to speak to each other about these issues.”
Leeds District Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Dodds, said: “We are acutely aware of the tragic consequences of youth knife crime, the young lives that have been senselessly lost here in Leeds and the families who are left to live with that.
“While we have been working hard alongside our partner agencies to tackle the issue and are seeing reductions, any incident of this kind will always be one too many.
“The root causes and driving factors around young people involved in knife crime are much wider than policing alone and it is only through everyone across our communities playing their part that we will continue make progress.
“The arrival of the Knife Angel and the work that sits around it over the coming month will be an excellent opportunity to build on the work we have been doing to reduce incidents and keep our young people and our communities safe.”
West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, said: “The Knife Angel represents our solidarity in confronting the issues of serious violence, ensuring that West Yorkshire remains safe, just and inclusive.
“We each play a crucial role in turning the tide on knife crime and rejecting those behaviours that can lead to unimaginable heartbreak for families and communities.
“It provides a fantastic platform to educate our young people, opening up new conversations, which can help change attitudes and cultures.”
The public is encouraged to visit the sculpture and engage in discussions about the critical issues surrounding knife crime. To report or provide information about knife crime anonymously, individuals can visit Fearless.