The Knife Angel
The Knife Angel

A report has admitted that there had been a “lack of up-front scrutiny” on the impact the Knife Angel would have during its visit to Lichfield.

The sculpture, made up of thousands of seized blades, was hosted alongside Lichfield District Council’s offices on Frog Lane earlier this year.

At the time, local authority chiefs said the Knife Angel would leave a lasting legacy on the district.

But a report to a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee by Cllr Richard Cox, cabinet member for community engagement, has now admitted that there were issues related to the sculpture’s visit.

“There has been a review of the lessons learned from hosting the Angel, including a lack of up-front scrutiny around the impact the campaign would have, the staffing and resources it required to support the effective co-ordination of events and the impact this additional work had on daily workloads of community safety officers.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

The report also said there had been “limited member engagement in agreeing to host the Knife Angel”.

The sculpture’s stay in the city saw £20,000 come via funding schemes linked to the Staffordshire Commissioner, while Lichfield District Council stumped up £5,000 for transport and staging events.

Cllr Cox’s report said agreeing to welcome the Knife Angel had come with restrictions.

“All hosts must sign the ‘Knife Angel Agreement of Conscience’ before a hosting period can be confirmed. This agreement is designed to give guidance over how to get the maximum benefit out of hosting the monument through public involvement, education programmes, and community collaborations.

“Most importantly, all hosts must commit to utilise the angel to conduct 30 days of intensive anti-violence education programmes and workshops for their community youth.

“All those who volunteer or contribute to the hosting must receive recognition for their support via civic awards which the Community Safety Partnership was contractually obliged to give out.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

Despite the need for “lessons learned”, Cllr Cox said the Knife Angel’s stay in Lichfield had provided a positive impact, even though “Lichfield District itself is not a high knife crime area”.

“The Lichfield District Community Safety Partnership co-ordinated 30 days of educational workshops and engagement activity in the district, alongside numerous partners to host the Knife Angel. Children and young people, local residents, community groups, partners and visitors to the area were all invited and encouraged to take part.

“Key crime prevention, anti-violence and anti-aggression messages were shared throughout the month, allowing people, and importantly, young people, to stand up against violence and aggression in all forms, not just knife crime.

“Four knife bins were installed as part of the project and to date almost 300 knives and weapons have been surrendered, including a firearm. The bins will continue to operate and be emptied by the police as a lasting legacy from the campaign at Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets and Burntwood Leisure Centre.

“Bleed kits have been provided to key locations and venues in the district and training events were held at George Hotel and Burntwood Leisure Centre to all staff and volunteers who may be called on to use them in an emergency to save lives.

“A city centre defibrillator was also installed and launched as part of the campaign at B&M on Market Street.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

The report will be discussed at the overview and scrutiny committee meeting on 14th November.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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6 months ago

300 knives handed in is by any measure a great positive result. Query on location it would have had even more effect in shopping centre though maybe a problem for the many visiting schools.

Steven Norman
6 months ago

I asked for a report on the visit because of my concern over the lack of consultation – particular regarding the, in effect, “buying” of civic awards.

The report addresses a number of issues I raised and I am grateful for that though I, and other members, will have further questions on the night.

I do have to correct one word in your report, as I did with the District Council’s news release. The knives were not “seized” (though some were) but collected in 150 knife amnesty bins, given by The British Ironworks Centren where members of the public were able to donate or get rid of knives. This is what happened in Burntwood when I attended the installation of the knife bin at Morrisons. A law abiding citizen had seen the publicity and had brought a large knife, securely wrapped, to donate in the bin.

The word, ‘seized’ is used erroneously in the British Ironworks publicity but in fact they were mostly ‘donated’ by the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

6 months ago

“Limited member engagement” with a knife angel sounds like a very sensible decision to me.

Cinema insider
6 months ago

LDC in ‘not thinking’ shocker