"Carrying a knife is never the right thing to do"
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“Whatever situation you’re in, carrying a knife is never the right thing to do” – that’s the message from our Deputy Chief Constable as he welcomed the Knife Angel to Chelmsford.
The imposing 27 foot sculpture, made from 100,000 surrendered weapons, was erected in Central Park on Monday (6 September) and aims to raise awareness of knife crime.
It has been created by The British Ironwork Centre and artist Alfie Bradley.
DCC Andy Prophet joined partners at the launch of the statue, including Chelmsford City Council and Keep It 100, an organisation which works to educate young people on alternatives to criminal activities.
He said: “Whatever situation you're in, carrying a knife is never the right thing to do. Sometimes we hear ‘it's for my safety’, but knives won’t make you safer.
“I can tell you that from personal experience. A knife will either cause you or somebody else serious harm.
“The Knife Angel raises awareness of the dangers of knife crime, and the fact that it can wreck and does wreck lives.
“Every single child or young person carrying a knife, putting themselves and others at risk, is one too many.
“From a police perspective, from a schools and education perspective, from a voluntary service perspective, we must continue working together to do everything we can to raise awareness and get knives off our streets.”
As well as working with our partners to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife, we’re also taking action to get knives off our streets and bring to justice those carrying out knife crime.
Last week three men were jailed for a total of at least 58 years for the murder of Liam Taylor who was stabbed in Writtle last year.
Earlier this week two men were convicted of the murder of Alinkavwa Siwale who had been stabbed in a address in Colchester last December.
Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, who leads our Serious Violence Unit, said: “We use intelligence-led policing to carry out proactive patrols, use stop and search powers to catch offenders, and to gather evidence to identify and arrest suspects.
“We are also proactively seizing weapons to prevent violent crime from happening in the first place.
“And we’re seeing this approach being successful – in the last year or so we’ve seen a 13 percent drop in knife-enabled crime.
“In the year to the end of July this year we recorded more than 1,200 possession of weapons offences and the majority of these come from positive, proactive policing.”
DCI Basford added: “One of the main factors in a lot of violent crime and knife crime we see in Essex is the sale of drugs.
“Our Op Raptor team, which tackles street and drugs gangs, made 272 arrests in the first six months of 2021.
“But we also know there are people who carry knives for their own protection or are put under pressure by others to do so.
“We work closely with other organisations and charities to educate young people about the dangers and focus on diverting them away from lifestyles that put them at risk of being harmed.
“But we can’t do that alone.
“It’s important that we all talk to our children about these issues and can spot the signs that they may need help to avoid being led down the wrong road.”
To find out more about the Knife Angel visit the Keep It 100 website: https://www.keepit100essex.com/knife-angel-chelmsford
You can also sign up to be an anti-violence champion: https://www.keepit100essex.com/knife-angel-chelmsford-ambassador
If you want to report a crime or a concern to us you can call us on 101 or report it online: https://www.essex.police.uk.
You can also use the ‘Live Chat’ function and speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.
If it is an emergency please call 999.
You can also report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.