The city of Milton Keynes is working together this month to tackle all forms of violence.
The month of action against violence in December was marked today (1/12) with the arrival of the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.
The monument, also known as the Knife Angel, arrived in the city today and will be located outside Stadium MK throughout December and into early January.
The Knife Angel is a 27ft sculpture, made from approximately 100,000 bladed weapons collected in knife amnesty bins during police operations across the country.
Created by the British Ironwork Centre, the monument travels to locations around the UK as a focal point to help educate children and adults about the harmful effects that violent behaviour has on communities.
The month of action in Milton Keynes is a partnership between Thames Valley Police, the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner, Milton Keynes City Council, MK Dons Sports and Educational Trust and The Safety Centre Charity Hazard Alley.
Throughout the month there will be numerous activities, designed by those who live and work in the city to bring together schools and parents, voluntary sector organisations, places of worship, community groups, local venues and businesses to tackle violence in all its forms.
This includes knife crime, which has resulted in a number of lives being tragically lost in the city over the years, but also domestic abuse, hate crime, bullying and other forms of violence and aggression.
Deputy Commander for Milton Keynes policing area, Chief Inspector Euan Livingstone said: “Whilst serious violence in Milton Keynes has reduced over the last three years, we know that violence, particularly knife crime, is a real concern for our communities and there is a clear desire in our city to work together to end violence.
“The festive season typically brings communities together, therefore we want the arrival of Knife Angel to our city this December to act as a catalyst for encouraging conversation about violence and aggression.
“However, it is vital that the month of action leaves a legacy, and as communities we all continue to work together to make a strong and sustained difference to serious violence in our city.
“Everyone should feel safe to live and work in Milton Keynes.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, Matthew Barber said: “It is a privilege to host the Knife Angel in Milton Keynes.
“This powerful sculpture reminds us of the devastating impact of violence and aggression as well as being a symbol for change.
“I and partners across Milton Keynes are committed to working together in an effort to end the culture of knife carrying and violence.
“The engagement and educational activities taking place during the month of action will help to open up discussions, which can ultimately lead to changes in attitudes and behaviours.
“I encourage residents of Milton Keynes to visit the Knife Angel during December and get involved in the range of activities taking place.”
Cabinet Member for Adults, Healthy Communities and Housing at Milton Keynes City Council, Councillor Emily Darlington said: “Too many lives are lost and families broken by violence in our city.
“The Knife Angel is a stark reminder that knives kill.
“We need to deescalate the violence and address the reasons more young people are carrying knives.
“We want to build a city where abuse and violence are not tolerated and people feel safe.”
CEO at MK Dons Sport and Education Trust, Maralyn Smith said: “MK Dons and MK Dons Sport & Education Trust 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 Sport and Education Trust 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.”
CEO of the Safety Centre, Maya Joseph-Hussain said: “We are excited to welcome the Knife Angel to Milton Keynes this month and deliver life-saving education to 1,500 local primary school students as part of the month of action against violence and aggression.
“Our education team will be creating safe spaces for lifesaving conversations around knife crime and the choices and consequences of knife crime to year 5-6 students across Milton Keynes.
“Our education programme can save lives through impactful, age appropriate learning and vital conversations about the consequences of being involved in knife crime, helping building safe and flourishing communities here in Milton Keynes and across our region in the future.”
There will be numerous public activities during the month of action, including an opening ceremony at MK Dons home match against Burton this Saturday (3/12), an anti-violence art competition for children, a candlelit procession, and a carol service.
For more details about these public activities, please visit the Milton Keynes City Council webpage.
If you are a victim of violence, you know or suspect someone who is a victim of violence, or you have any information about violent crime, please contact the police of one of our partners.
In an emergency, always call 999.
If you can’t speak, call 999 and press 55; then stay on the line, listen to the call handler and answer questions, either by pushing buttons or coughing; the call handler will do everything they can to determine your location so they can deploy officers to you; if you can say one thing, please say your address.
If it’s not an emergency, you can call 101 or make a report online on our website.
If you don’t want to speak to the police, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their website. Also, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is free and open 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.