Knife Angel leaves Milton Keynes to signify the end of the month of action against violence and knife crime
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Milton Keynes reflects on a successful month of action against violence and knife crime in the city.
Earlier this week, the Knife Angel, the national monument against violence and aggression, left Stadium MK to its next host location in Slough, having been in Milton Keynes since 1 December.
This follows a formal event that was held on Thursday 5 January to mark the end of the month of action against violence in the city with over 100 community representatives, volunteers and supporters from the month in attendance as well as families of victims who have lost their lives to knife crime in the city.
The month of action and the hosting of the Knife Angel was all about bringing the community together to make a strong and sustained difference to tackling serious violence in our city.
Alongside many volunteers in the community, Thames Valley Police, MK Dons Sports and Education Trust, the Safety Centre, Milton Keynes Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner delivered nearly 50 public events, as well as policing operations and more than 100 educational classes during the month of action.
More than 25,000 conversations took place between members of the public and volunteers or PCSOs at the Knife Angel. This was only made possible by the generous volunteers, including magistrates, councillors, rotary club members and Police Cadets, who gave up more than 700 hours of their time. One volunteer, Jason Fathers was at the angel every day to talk about the impact of violence after losing his son Jay to knife crime in 2021.
Over 4,000 primary and secondary students took part in anti-violence education sessions held at both Stadium MK and in schools across the city.
Chief Inspector Euan Livingstone, Deputy Commander for the Milton Keynes policing area, said: “We have achieved so much since the month of action started on 1 December and I am proud of the role that Thames Valley Police has played.
“As a partnership group, the planning for the activity started many months ago, and we were ambitious about what we set out to do. As a community, we exceeded our expectations.
“The support from residents and businesses has been incredible and I would like to thank everyone who volunteered, visited the Knife Angel or took the time to have a conversation about violence and aggression.
“We have always said that the month of action is not the start or end point of preventing violence and aggression, however it has focused attention and activity and brought the community together. We will continue this work as a community to ensure we make a long-term and sustained difference to reducing violence and aggression in our city.”
Maralyn Smith, CEO of MK Dons Sports and Education Trust, said: “During the month of action, MK Dons Sports and Education Trust has provided workshops, awareness raising assemblies, information posts and weblinks for young people, parents and the wider community.
“Our work will not finish with the departure of the Knife Angel from Stadium MK, but instead has acted as a catalyst for legacy work around this impactful project.
“Moving forward, MK Dons SET will be running further workshops and linking with schools across Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Luton to spread the message of anti-violence.
“MK Dons SET is currently promoting and fundraising for the installation of bleed kits in community facilities across the city of Milton Keynes. Alongside local taxi companies, we aim to provide cabs with the kits to support people should they be a victim of a knife attack.
“Milton Keynes is a safe city, however we want to make sure that communities do not see carrying a knife as a solution but more likely to make them a victim of crime.”
Maya Joseph-Hussain, CEO of the Safety Centre, said: “It was an honour to be involved in the delivery of the month of action against violence and aggression in our home town of Milton Keynes.
“Thank you to the Police and Crime Commissioner for his invaluable support for our education outreach work.
“Our knife crime education sessions were delivered to a total of 1,500 9-11-year-olds in Milton Keynes, creating safe spaces for life saving conversations.
“This education work plays a vital role in the legacy of the Knife Angel coming to our city, as we work to help build flourishing, safe communities in MK and beyond.
“We encourage our partners and community to keep working with and funding the Safety Centre to enable this life saving work to continue.”
Councillor Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member responsible for Community Safety at Milton Keynes City Council, said: “We are grateful to all our partners in the month of action against violence, and to all the schools, groups and local people who took the time to visit and think about the meaning of the National Monument against Violence and Aggression.
“The month of action represents just a small amount of what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ll keep working together to tackle violence in all its forms and to keep local people safe.”
Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: “Bringing the Knife Angel to Milton Keynes has been a privilege. Its presence stood as a reminder of the devastating effects of violence. As a result, partners have come together to drive activity and engagement and conversations about knife crime and violence have taken place in communities and homes across the city.
“I want to thank all the partners involved in delivering the numerous engagement activities and awareness events during the month of action and to the volunteers and other supporters who have been vital in ensuring their successful delivery.
“Tackling knife crime and violence in Milton Keynes remains a priority for Thames Valley Police. The Knife Angel may have left the city but work will continue with partners and the community on how we can successfully address issues of violence to make Milton Keynes a safer place.”