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Over 600 knives surrendered to police will be used by local students to build a sculpture aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of knife crime.
As part of their curriculum, art students from Stockton Riverside College will now create a number of innovative designs, one of which engineering students from NETA Training will bring to life, using hundreds of knives surrendered to Cleveland Police during a recent campaign.
The idea for the sculpture follows on from the Knife Angel being erected in Middlesbrough’s Centre Square in August. The 27ft sculpture, made from over 10,000 discarded knives and confiscated weapons from police forces around the country, stands as a tragic reminder of the devastation caused by knife crime.
Thousands of people visited the sculpture over the course of four weeks, and a poignant vigil was held to remember those affected by knife crime.
Superintendent Tariq Ali, Cleveland Police lead on knife crime, said: “In Cleveland, knife crime has always been taken very seriously and we always try to get our messages across to younger people in a number of ways in order to educate them about the dangers and potential consequences of carrying knives.
“This initiative is an additional way that we can reach out to young people and educate them, including those involved in designing and building the sculpture and anyone who may see the finished product.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “The visit of the Knife Angel to Middlesbrough was a massive coup for Cleveland and it was visited by thousands of people. This innovative idea by students to create a smaller sculpture forms part of our plan to help rid communities of knife crime.
“It is hoped that by creating something poignant like this, it will help us to spread the message about the dangers of knife crime further. By educating young people and removing knives off the streets of Cleveland, we are another step closer to stamping out knife crime.”
Stockton Riverside College’s Course Leader for Art and Design, Liz Dixon, said: “The Knife Angel is such a fantastic example of how art can be used to deliver a powerful message. Our students are looking forward to now testing their own creative skills to come up with a unique design that will help further spread the word both to fellow students and the wider community.”
With engineering students at Stockton’s NETA Training tasked with ultimately turning the final design into a sculpture, NETA’s Head of Department for Engineering, David Laycock, said: “It is quite shocking to hear that until recently those 600 plus knives were on the streets of Teesside.
“It is so important for people to be aware that knife crime is not just an issue in London and the big cities but it exists right here on our doorsteps.
“Through projects like this, we hope to play a small part in helping raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime and its devastating consequences, not just for those directly affected but for families, friends and the whole community.”
*** Picture caption (L-R): Stockton Riverside College Art and Design students Natalie Woof, Holly Silver, and Kieran Boyer, with NETA’s Head of Department for Engineering David Laycock and Stockton Riverside College’s Course Leader for Art and Design, Liz Dixon ***