The launch of the Knife Angel sculpture in Lichfield
The launch of the Knife Angel sculpture in Lichfield

A councillor says he is “uncomfortable” with the confirmation that civic awards had to be given out as part of the agreement to bring the Knife Angel to Lichfield.

A report to a meeting of Lichfield District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee has admitted there was a “lack of up-front” scrutiny on the agreement for the anti-knife crime sculpture to come the city.

The Knife Angel was based on Frog Lane earlier this year and saw its arrival marked by a civic ceremony which saw a number of awards handed out to campaigners, businesses and dignitaries.

But the report by Cllr Richard Cox, cabinet member for community engagement, has confirmed that the formal recognition of individuals and organisations had been a part of the contract.

He said:

“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

Lichfield District Council has published a list of recipients:

Street Whyze Project CICActive engagement with community at Knife Angel site and provided inputs to pupils on school visits to site.
The Training InitiativeActive engagement with community at Knife Angel site and education inputs at schools.
Two Rivers SchoolDirected most young people to Knife Angel site and large involvement in project.
TescoKnife bin on their premises and providing Community Champion to support campaign.
MorrisonsHosting knife bins at their stores in Lichfield and Burntwood
Burntwood Leisure CentreKnife bin on site and providing space for bleed kit training, placing staff on bleed kit training, and having a bleed kit on site.
B&MSupported campaign and supported bleed kit training and taken bleed kit. Accepted new defibrillator on building.
Lichfield CathedralSupported campaign and supported bleed kit training and taken bleed kit. Also played an integral part in final procession at the departure event.
McDonald’sSupported campaign and supported bleed kit training and taken bleed kit.
Lichfield GarrickSupported campaign and supported bleed kit training and taken bleed kit.
Pathway ProjectSupported campaign and supported bleed kit training and taken bleed kit
Beverley and Mark BrindleyAttended three community outreach days, speaking to members of the public about their experiences. Have a successful foundation providing education and training. 
Kristy and Rob FreckletonAttended the launch event, supports Streetwhyze education and attended the Knife Angel site doing inputs for school groups
HarvsterYoung man who wrote raps on ‘ditch the blade’ campaign, performed three times over the course of the month.
Natalie QuirozVictim of knife crime who actively engages with schools and public. Campaigns against knife crime.
Clive KnowlesChairman and founder of the British Ironwork Centre. Award for creating the Knife Angel.
Cllr Richard CoxAward to the district council for their support in hosting the Knife Angel and staffing for events.
Staffordshire Commissioner Ben AdamsAward to the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner for providing funding for the engagement events.

Committee members have now been issued with a further report outlining the contract which states that the council “must arrange suitable commendations” for Clive Knowles from The British Ironwork Centre, as well as identifying who they should be awarded by.

The contract continued:

“This is a compulsory requirement. These awards are to be included in a report being compiled for the Home Office so this must be carried out as the awards are evidential over the value and positive impact of the angel’s visit.

“The wording on these certificates should recognise the UK’s largest independent anti-violence educational programme – the Knife Angel.”

Lichfield District Council’s Knife Angel contract

Cllr Steve Norman, chair of the overview and scrutiny committee, said that while the publicity that the sculpture has provided had raised awareness of the dangers of young people carrying knives, he was “uncomfortable” with the demand for awards as part of the agreement.

The Labour representative said:

“I have never come across a situation where civic awards are not given freely but are demanded in a contract.

“This was not stated in any news release from the district council at the time and members will be able to ask questions on this at the committee. 

“The wording on the awards says the Council recognises the positive impact of the angel’s visit even though it had only been installed that day.

“I know I am not the only person uncomfortable with this aspect of an otherwise laudable project.” 

Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council

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

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.