Angel sculpture takes shape as 40 police forces donate knife amnesty hauls
A sculpture of an angel crafted from thousands of knives surrendered during a Government-backed amnesty is nearing completion after receiving blades from more than 40 police forces.
Sussex Police this week became the latest force to offer its support for the so-called Knife Angel - created by the Shropshire-based British Ironwork Centre as a national monument to victims of knife crime.
Around 100,000 knives have been taken off the streets in England and Wales during the project, set up two years ago with the backing of the Home Office.
Sussex Police announced plans on Tuesday to donate blades dumped in amnesty "bins" to the Knife Angel, which has been put together by 25-year-old sculptor Alfie Bradley.
Clive Knowles, the chairman of the British Ironwork Centre, based near Oswestry, hopes the statue will go on display on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth in London once it has been finished with blades recovered in the Sussex and South Yorkshire police areas.
Mr Knowles said: "The project started two years ago and it started with us seeing a documentary where the police were being criticised for not being proactive on reducing knife crime figures.
"We offered to build 150 knife amnesty banks for British police forces free of any cost. And the only proviso was that they would have to give us the weaponry in order to build a national monument against violence and aggression."
An application to site the statue in Trafalgar Square cannot be submitted until it has been completed and weighed, Mr Knowles said.
Speaking after Sussex Police confirmed it would support the project, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "The sculpture will be a very poignant reminder to us all of the victims of knife crime and it's vital that we continue to raise awareness of the extremely serious consequences of carrying a knife."
South Yorkshire Police has also said it is prepared to donate seized knives to the project.
Temporary Superintendent Simon Wanless said: "South Yorkshire Police have not been requested to supply any knives for the sculpture that is being built.
"However, we would be happy to supply seized knives from our store if we were contacted and provided a plan on how the knives would be safely transported and stored."