Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, at the unveiling of the Tags Restoration Project in Slough

PCC attends unveiling of Slough knife art installation

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A new art installation inspired by the Knife Angel’s visit to Slough earlier this year has been put on display.

The “Tags Restoration Project” was created by local artists from the Art Classes Group and incorporates over 900 tags that were left on the Knife Angel during its time in the town.

The Knife Angel came to Arbour Park in January as part of a month of action against violence which was led by the PCC, Thames Valley Police and Slough Borough Council. The month of action brought together local residents, voluntary organisations, community groups, places of worship and local businesses to take a collective stand against all forms of violence including knife crime, domestic abuse, hate crime and bullying. It included the delivery of 56 educational sessions to more than 3,000 children and young people by The Safety Centre.

Over 8500 residents visited the Knife Angel leaving their own messages against violence. Created by the British Ironwork Centre to raise awareness of the impact of violence and remember those lost to knife crime, the 27ft National Monument Against Violence and Aggression is made from 100,000 bladed weapons collected from knife amnesty bins across the country.

Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, funded much of the work to bring the Knife Angel to Slough. He also funded the “Tags Restoration Project” through his Partnerships Fund and attended its unveiling last Friday, 22 September. 

He said: “I was pleased to bring the Knife Angel to Slough earlier this year. Together with the joint month of action against violence, the Knife Angel helped to raise awareness of the impact of knife crime. The creation of a more permanent art installation will be a fantastic legacy for the Knife Angel and a continued reminder of Slough’s commitment to end serious violence. Congratulations to the Art Classes Group on creating such a powerful piece. 

“Thames Valley Police continue to do important work to take knives off our streets. The implementation of Operation Deter has seen swifter remand and charge for those who carry knives as well as specific early interventions for young people in Slough. Tackling knife crime and violence in Slough remains a priority and I will continue to work with partners in our joint aim to make Slough a safer place.”

The “Tags Restoration project” is a 3D display where people can go around and read the messages that were left on the Knife Angel. The piece can be moved around for educational purposes helping to continue the conversation about knife crime. The artwork is on display at Arbour Park until 29 September, before going to the council offices at Observatory House, and then back to the Observatory Shopping Centre, where it will be outside the Art Classes Group gallery, on the ground floor, opposite the entrance to TK Maxx.

Ovais Shamsuddin, from The Art Classes Group, said: “When we started the Knife Angel art installation, we wanted to create a meaningful way to address the issue of knife crime and promote social change.

“The installation was a labour-intensive process that took more than 80 hours to complete. The core of the installation consists of a collection of tags with messages from Slough communities, and a series of paintings that create a powerful tribute to the original Knife Angel sculpture.”