MK Dons, Thames Valley Police, the Police & Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley and Milton Keynes Council are calling on the community to join them in a month of action against violent crime at the end of this year.
The month of action in December aims to bring together schools and parents, voluntary sector organisations, places of worship, community groups, local venues and businesses to work alongside statutory partners for Milton Keynes to take a stand together against violence in all forms.
This includes knife crime, which has resulted in a number of lives being tragically lost over the years, but also domestic abuse, hate crime, bullying and other forms of violence and aggression.
To mark the month of action, Milton Keynes will host the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression outside Stadium MK. Also known as the ‘Knife Angel’, the monument is a 27ft sculpture, made from approximately 100,000 bladed weapons collected in knife amnesty bins during police operations across the country.
Created in collaboration with all 43 police forces, the Home Office, anti-violence groups and hundreds of families who have been affected by knife crime, the monument is a symbol of the nation’s intolerance to violence and aggression.
It was created by the British Ironwork Centre, by sculptor Alfie Bradley to highlight the impact knife crime has on people, families and communities.
The month of action against violence in Milton Keynes will incorporate numerous days of activity, designed by those who live and work in the city. This will include educational workshops, group activities and a candlelit procession to take a moment to remember all those who have tragically lost their life through knife crime.
Chief Inspector Euan Livingstone, Deputy Commander for Milton Keynes policing area, said: “We are acutely aware of the impact that knife crime has on families and communities here in Milton Keynes and as a policing team we have long been committed to tackling violent crime. I know this is a commitment shared by many across the city and this month of action will allow us all to join together to make a stand against serious violence with the knife angel as a key focal point.
“We are still in the early stages of planning but I’m really pleased to be working alongside so many enthusiastic partners and look forward to seeing our activity throughout December take shape.”
Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: “Tackling the culture of knife carrying shown by a minority in Milton Keynes and beyond won’t be a quick fix. Bringing the Knife Angel to the city is symbolic of our joint commitment as the police, the council and the community to stamp out knife crime.
“During the month of December, we will be running a host of activities to help get our message across and change attitudes, but we’re here for the long haul. We are all determined to make MK and the Thames Valley safer places to live.”
Councillor Pete Marland, Milton Keynes Council Leader, said: “While work to tackle the issues behind knife crime goes on behind the scenes every day, with hard working social workers and other specialist teams, bringing this artwork to Milton Keynes is an opportunity to stimulate debate in classrooms, households and communities about how we collectively stop knife crime.
“Serious violence cannot continue to take lives in Milton Keynes, and I hope that as a city we will show our commitment to doing better for our young people.”
Maralyn Smith, CEO of MK Dons Sport & Education Trust said: “MK Dons and MK Dons Sport & Education Trust (SET) are really pleased to be hosting the Knife Angel during December, to support the project with education and awareness raising around the issues of violence.
"Both MK Dons and MK Dons SET are committed to the reduction of violence in all forms and are keen to encourage discussion and education for the Milton Keynes committee and hope the activities have a real impact in reducing violence in our city.”