25 Jan 2024
Knife Angel starts conversations about knife crime in Leeds
The touring Knife Angel sculpture has arrived in Leeds, to send a powerful message and spark conversations about knife crime in the city.
It is placed outside the Royal Armouries Museum as part of an intensification month on knife crime which runs throughout February.
The Knife Angel, standing 27ft tall and made from over 100,000 seized blades, was created by the British Ironwork Centre to highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour and the need for change. Featuring messages from families of victims of knife crime it also acts as a striking memorial designed to celebrate those lives who have been lost.
As part of the city’s continued response to serious youth violence a free programme of learning opportunities will be running throughout the month. To engage and educate young people, secondary schools have been given the opportunity to book in for specialist learning sessions at the Royal Armouries Museum, supported by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership.
The Youth Service and other youth providers will also be targeting their discussions on knife crime throughout February and will be offering a combination of activities based at the Knife Angel location and in 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.”
To report or pass on information about knife crime anonymously, visit Fearless.
About the Knife Angel:
The Knife Angel was created by the British Ironwork Centre, by the artist Alfie Bradley, and it is the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression. It’s made up of over 100,000 knives surrendered and collected in nationwide amnesties.
Read more at the Official Knife Angel Page.
The sculpture will be placed outside the Royal Armouries throughout February and everyone, including youth groups and community groups, is encouraged to go and view it.
About Royal Armouries Museum:
The Royal Armouries Museum cares for the national collection of arms and armour and is the world’s oldest museum, with its origins at the Tower of London. Situated at Leeds Dock, the museum is free to enter and displays over 4,500 objects from ancient times to the present day.
For hundreds of years, the Royal Armouries Museum has sparked intrigue and curiosity, from its beginnings as the working armoury of the medieval kings and queens of England, to a 21st-century visitor attraction hosting the modern-day Knife Angel sculpture.
For media enquiries contact:
Leeds City Council Communications team