Mason Moore & Vaughan Moore | 1 June 2023
THE TOWERING 27 foot ‘Knife Angel’ sculpture, made from 100,000 confiscated blades, was officially unveiled in Nuneaton with a poignant ceremony this evening (1 June).
It was lifted into place by contractors using cranes around 7am, and is being displayed at the former site of the lily pad water fountain on Market Place, near Coventry Street.
In fact, whilst it may have only been unveiled this evening, the iconic Knife Angel has seemingly touched residents weeks in advance, helping to keep the streets safer.
That is because Nuneaton and Bedworth police officers made it known last Thursday (25 May) that more than 80 knives were anonymously surrendered at Nuneaton Police Station, as a part of the ‘Operation Sceptre’ campaign, ahead of the sculpture’s visit.
Operation Sceptre is a national campaign held twice a year, which aims to reduce knife crime, and helps to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying a knife. Residents were able to seize their blades at police stations, with no questions asked.
Commenting on the Angel’s month-long visit to town, Police Sergeant Ryan Walker, who patrols Nuneaton South, said: “This is a huge part of our education programme. We hope that it will make people think.
“The fact that it is made of 100,000 confiscated knives – that it is 100,000 blades that are not on the streets, each one could have saved a life.”
This marks the first time the sculpture, dubbed “the national monument against violence”, has come to town. It last visited Coventry Cathedral back in March 2019.
Marcus Jones, Member of Parliament for Nuneaton, said: “It’s a hugely impressive piece of artwork, but more importantly, its about what it represents.
“It’s all about bringing attention to the challenges of knife crime and challenges of young people getting involved in gang violence, and about educating young people, so that we can try and deter them from getting involved in gangs, and deter them from getting involved in knife crime, so that we can all live in a safer area.
“I think having any knives off the street is a really important thing. I congratulate Warwickshire Police for what they’ve achieved with doing that so far, and hopefully the Knife Angel statue being here in Nuneaton will mean that we can get more knives off the streets, and deter more young people from getting involved in knife crime are putting themselves in danger.”
Phillip Seccombe, Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire Police, said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this happen, and for ensuring the Knife Angel’s visit is a success. The Knife Angel delivers a poignant reminder of the lives lost and the devastating impact of knife crime.”
Also in attendance was former founding member of Coventry ska band, The Specials, Dr. Neville Staple with his wife Sugary Staple, who both issued a touching tribute to his grandson Fidel, who tragically lost his life after being stabbed in September 2018.
Dr. Staple is a prominent anti-knife crime campaigner, having released a song urging people to put away their knives in a single aptly-named ‘Put Away Your Knives’, released in March 2019.
Stick with the Hinckley Free Press tomorrow for Dr. Staple’s exclusive comments about the angel’s unveiling and knife amnesty bins, as well as words from the Nuneaton and Bedworth Mayor, and the Borough Council’s Deputy Leader.