Bradford Youth Justice Service (YJS) began its anti-violence awareness month with the unveiling of The Knife Angel, a 27ft statue made from over 100,000 seized bladed weapons, which will be on display in Centenary Square throughout April.
The YJS team were joined by partners from West Yorkshire Police, Probation Services, Bradford Health Care Partnership, local faith leaders and members of the public to witness the unveiling of this poignant and eye-catching monument to anti-violence.
Guest speakers at the event included the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Martin Love; Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, and Clive Knowles, Chairman of the British Ironworks, who originally commissioned the building of The Knife Angel.
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: “It’s fantastic that Bradford is hosting the Knife Angel to support greater debate and action on knife crime.
“This is a poignant reminder of the issues we all face in tackling serious violence and how we must work together in partnership to address it.
“This is an opportunity for our young people and the wider community to learn more about this and I’d urge people to come along and see this breath-taking sculpture for themselves.”
Clive Knowles thanked Bradford for hosting the statue and showing willingness to tackle the issue of knife crime and violence. “You are the 36th town or city to host The Knife Angel. I’m here to salute Bradford for being courageous, for dealing with these problems first hand.”
He then presented partners involved in Bradford’s hosting of the Knife Angel with National Youth Anti-Violence certificates recognising their efforts in assisting with the monument’s tour.
In his speech, the Lord Mayor thanked British Ironworks for creating this powerful monument to anti-violence, and encouraged the people of Bradford to come and see it. “I’m delighted that Bradford has been chosen and has stepped up to the plate to host The Knife Angel for the next month.”
To coincide with The Knife Angel’s visit, there are a number of activities taking place across the District to raise awareness and educate residents of the dangers of knife crime and other violence behaviours.
The YJS will be visiting schools and delivering assemblies to over 12,000 children, all of whom will be made anti-violence champions.
A series of art competitions are also running, where budding artists can submit drawings, paintings, sculptures or pieces of writing that promote a message of peace for the chance to win shopping vouchers, art supplies, and have their work displayed in City Library.
An online anti-violence conference will be held on 18 April aimed at professionals working with those who are at risk of violence, those involved in violence or those attempting to educate against violence. Speakers confirmed include Christina Gabbitas, author of ‘No More Knifes or County Lines’, as well as experts from Bradford University’s DNA profiling and Crime Scene Investigation Advancements teams, a BRI trauma surgeon, and a participant in West Yorkshire’s Restorative Justice Programme. Attendees can register for free via Eventbrite.
The University of Bradford is also hosting a series of podcasts on the theme of anti-violence and knife crime, which will be essential listening for anyone interested in criminal justice and violence reduction.