Knife Angel leaves Slough as month of action comes to a close
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The national monument against violence and aggression has left Slough following the month of action to tackle violence in all its forms.
On Tuesday (31/1), the Knife Angel left Arbour Park Stadium for its next host location in Gloucester, having been in Slough since 9 January.
This follows a closing ceremony which took place on Monday (30/1) to formally mark the end of the month of action.
Alongside partners from Slough Borough Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, The Safety Centre, Love Music Hate Violence, Slough Town Football Club, a total of 20 public events have taken place throughout the month. These included a candlelit vigil, knife arch operations at a local college, a music event and a performance by Slough Youth Gospel.
Over the course of the month, 8,500 conversations took place at the Knife Angel’s location between members of the public, volunteers, Police officers and PCSOs. In addition, 56 educational sessions were delivered to over 3,000 children and young people on subjects ranging from knife crime and domestic abuse to bullying.
There have been over 900 tags with pledges and messages of reflection attached to the railings around the monument by those who visited the Knife Angel during its stay. Over 200 hours were volunteered by 50 people from volunteer groups and organisations across Slough. A knife amnesty has also been running as part of the month of action, with 44 knives surrendered across the town during the month.
Joint operations were undertaken to address the accessibility of knives. 10 retailers were visited during a test purchase operation by Thames Valley Police and Trading Standards. 3 of the stores failed, providing knives to under 18’s, those retailers are now under investigation by Trading Standards. Meanwhile, a joint operation between Thames Valley Police, South East Regional Organised Crime Unit and Border Agency targeted packages being sent to Slough postcodes prevented 16 knives and prohibited weapons being imported into the country.
Deputy Commander for Slough policing area, Ashley Smith, said: “We have achieved so much during this month of action throughout January.
“The activity has demonstrated the power of communities, local businesses, partners and police uniting, with the common goal to tackle violence in all forms. The support from everyone involved and those who have taken time to visit the Knife Angel and activities throughout its stay has been incredible.
“We have always acknowledged that this month of action is not the start or end point of preventing violence and aggression. However, the momentum that has been created throughout January cannot be lost. We will take this opportunity to build a legacy to the month of action and ensure there is a long-term and sustained difference to reducing violence and aggression across Slough.”
Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The Knife Angel has been a fantastic tool to educate and raise awareness of knife crime. We have been privileged to host it in Slough and as a result, partners have come together to drive engagement and create discussion about the impact of violence and knife crime within schools, homes and across communities.
“I want to thank all the partners involved in delivering the numerous engagement activities and awareness events that have taken place and to all the supporters who have been vital in ensuring their success. Tackling knife crime and violence in Slough remains a priority and I look forward to continuing to work with partners in our joint aim to make Slough a safer place.”
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 Slough. Thank you to the Police and Crime Commissioner for his invaluable support for our education outreach work. Our knife crime education sessions are being delivered to approximately 2,000 10-12 year olds across Slough this term, creating safe spaces for life saving conversations.
“This education work plays a vital role in the legacy of the knife angel coming to Slough, as we work to help build flourishing, safe communities in Slough 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 Balvinder Bains, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Regulation and Enforcement, said: "It has been fantastic to see the amount of work which has gone on in Slough during the Knife Angel visit. I'm proud we as a town could stand together against knife crime and violence and we remain committed to continuing the education work, so more people realise the dangers of picking up a knife. Thank you to everyone for their work during this month of action."