Campaigners vow to fight for London stage for Knife Angel

Reporter:

Colin Channon

Campaigners have not given up on their dream of seeing the Knife Angel on the Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square.

The monument to anti-violence, created at the British Ironwork Centre, is made from more than 100,000 knives which were used in crime for all over the country.

The majority were from London – yet the Mayor’s Office is so far refusing to allow the Angel to be shown in the capital.

Families affected by knife crime and anti-aggression organisations are now planning a march in London to try to persuade the Mayor to change his mind.

Clive Knowles, the Ironworks’ founder and chairman, says London is duty bound to display the Angel.

He said: “If knife crime figures continue to escalate, as they continue to do – this year, to August, we have already seen the same number of knife crimes than the whole of last year – I think the Mayor’s Office will come under increasing pressure to do whatever they can within their means to help the British people deal with this crisis.

“They are obliged to do it. They have a duty to do it.

“The mothers and families who want to take part in the demonstration feel the same way.

“We have been rebuffed and pushed away by London, rather ungraciously I would say – it feels as if the Angel has no real worth to them.

“The Angel is the result of a national effort. All the police forces have had knife surrenders and a national amnesty, families have put inscriptions and their children’s names on the monument, anti-violence and anti-aggression groups have been involved – and then for the Home Office to sweep all that effort over two and half years to one side and say it doesn’t fit ‘committee criteria’ because they can’t put anything on the Plinth that hasn’t been commissioned solely from beginning to end by them, is absolutely shameful.”

Other community figures have already contacted Mr Knowles to ask if the Angel could be displayed prominently in their cities.

The latest to show an interest is Coventry, which is bidding to become the UK’s City of Culture in 2021. It would like to display the Knife Angel in the city’s cathedral ruins.

Mr Knowles said: “Coventry wants it, Birmingham wants it, the Nottingham crime commissioner wants to bid for it, Greater Manchester has asked for it, and Gloucester has asked for it.

“But we will not lose sight of London – it was designed and created for London and we will persevere until we win through.

“To get it to London would be a monumental task, a logistical headache – it’s too tall to go under motorway bridges and would have to lie flat on a lorry –– but it is one we would overcome.

“And given that London provided half the volume of weaponry the Angel is made from, and has the greatest number of knife attacks and knife incidents in the nation, it’s absolutely fitting it is displayed there.

“Once London has had its 12 months, I think it should make an appearance at each of those other cities. I think the people in those cities have shown great leadership and been very courageous over such a difficult subject and really further shamed the Mayor’s Office.

“We have other cities willing to grasp the nettle and showcase the Angel and yet our national capital lacks that leadership and that courage to do the same, yet they are suffering in the worst possible way.

“And every week that goes past, every month that goes past, how many more people will die because the Angel has not been enabled to kickstart the programmes and initiatives it was designed to do?”

Email:

colin.channon@nwn.co.uk

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