Southend to host national anti-violence monument after successful council bid

March 21, 2024

Southend-on-Sea has been selected by the British Ironworks to host The Knife Angel during July to symbolise the devastating impact of violent crime.

The Knife Angel, The National Monument Against Violence and Aggression is a thought provoking 27-foot-high sculpture crafted from over 100,000 confiscated or surrendered weapons. The weapons include knives, inscribed with messages from impacted families or former offenders, confiscated by Police Forces across the country.

It has been created as an iconic symbol against violence and aggression, particularly knife crime in the UK, to educate young people on the harmful and long-lasting effects that violent behaviour can have on communities, families, and victims.

The Knife Angel has been touring the country as a poignant symbol of hope and social change. From Monday 1 July to Sunday 28 July, it will be located at the Victoria Circus end of the High Street, offering both residents and visitors a unique opportunity to witness the sculpture up close and the powerful message it sends. During the month there will be a general weapons amnesty, with the support of Essex Police, in the form of a surrender secure bin which travels with The Knife Angel.

A free programme of learning opportunities is planned throughout July, aimed at preventing youth involvement in violence. The sessions will encourage parents, carers and residents of all ages to also learn more about the impacts of violence, the signs of exploitation and county lines, explore proactive solutions, and engage in meaningful dialogue.

A unique aspect of Southend's hosting is the spotlight on positive recreational activities available for children and young people across the city with clubs offering a host of demonstrations and taster sessions throughout the month.

Councillor James Courtenay, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, says: “I am extremely pleased that Southend-on-Sea has been selected to be part of the UK National Youth Anti-Violence Tour. This is a significant opportunity for Southend and key crime reduction partners, to benefit from the unique, public awareness and educational opportunities The Knife Angel presents.”

Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, says: "I am delighted that the Knife Angel is coming to Southend. Making the city safer by reducing knife crime and serious violence is my top priority, and this sculpture offers a unique alternative in how we can raise awareness of knife crime, particularly following my work in Parliament to outlaw all forms of zombie knives. I wholeheartedly support this initiative, children and young people need to be continually taught that knives are a serious issue, and that carrying them, even as a defensive measure, has very serious consequences."

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and chair of the Violence and Vulnerability Partnership, said: “Essex is a safe county, but one knife crime is one too many.

“The Knife Angel is a great conversation starter. It powerfully reminds us of the tragedies and heartbreak caused by knife crime, but also gives us a reason to talk about the dangers possession of a knife brings, allowing us to educate our young people and communities in order to keep Southend safe.”

The council is keen for as many residents, charities and businesses as possible to get involved during July as part of the innovative programme of activity. Any organisation or individual interested in donating their time, providing sponsorship, or in-kind support, can find out more by emailing:

More information about The Knife Angel’s visit to Southend will be detailed in the coming weeks on Visit Southend –


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