A week-long knife surrender initiative, commencing next week, offers an opportunity for Leeds residents to play a crucial role in removing potentially lethal weapons from the streets. This initiative is part of the ongoing knife crime intensification month, coinciding with the continued presence of the Knife Angel, a 27 ft tall sculpture made from over 100,000 seized blades, outside the Royal Armouries Museum since the beginning of February.

The Knife Angel serves as a poignant reminder of the adverse effects of violent behaviour, emphasizing the urgent need for societal change. The initiative is bolstered by a comprehensive program of activities led by Safer Leeds, the community safety partnership, and supported by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership. These efforts aim to engage and educate young people as part of the city’s ongoing response to combat serious youth violence.

From Monday, February 26, to Sunday, March 3, individuals can anonymously surrender knives at the public helpdesk located at Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road. The helpdesk operates from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The scheme ensures anonymity, and those surrendering knives are not required to provide personal details. Simultaneously, Leeds District has initiated a pilot project through the Force’s Contact Management Centre, responding to reports of bladed weapons discovered by the public in local communities.

This project aims to enhance community safety by removing weapons that may have been discarded in public spaces or concealed for potential use by street gangs. Calls reporting knives found by the public are documented and evaluated to determine their potential links to crime or evidential value, such as blood staining. Subsequently, officers are deployed to recover the weapons.

Any knives reported as found are documented, photographed by officers, and sent for destruction. The pilot, initiated in January, resulted in the recovery of 40 knives in Leeds, a significant increase compared to the 13 recovered in the preceding month of November before the pilot’s commencement.

Chief Inspector Lucy Leadbeater, Leeds District Partnerships, said: “The knife surrender is a great opportunity for people to help reduce the number of bladed weapons that are out there in our communities, particularly some of the most dangerous weapons such as machetes and zombie knives.

“We recognise that the surrender is unlikely to attract those weapons that are already in criminal hands but even taking a few knives out of circulation can only be a good thing in terms of reducing the risks.

“It’s a chance for concerned parents or those in youth groups who may have come across a knife to dispose of it safely with no questions asked.

“The work we have been doing under the Contact Management Centre pilot has also seen an increase in knives being recovered, which again reduces the risk and helps to make our communities safer.

“The intensification month based around the Knife Angel’s residency in the city is currently ongoing with some really positive work in terms of education and awareness with schools and young people and this week-long surrender should provide some positive support to those aims.”

To report or share information about knife crime anonymously, individuals can visit https://crimestoppers-uk.org/fearless.