04 Feb 2020
On Saturday January 25 a closing ceremony took place in Newtown to mark the departure of the Knife Angel, with hundreds of people attending to take part in a candlelit march.
Newtown was the first place in Wales to host the Knife Angel, and it stood imposingly outside the Oriel Gallery in Newtown until January 29 2020. This was thanks to the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner and Newtown County Councillor Joy Jones, along with other local people, who joined forces to make the successful bid to bring the National Monument against Violence and Aggression to Wales for the first time.
Being the first Welsh location to step forward in a bid to galvanise the anti-violence and aggression message for the whole community, made the Angel’s stay in Newtown a truly momentous occasion. By bringing the Angel to Newtown, Powys County Council and the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner made a commitment to conduct 28 days of intensive educational workshops and programmes – but were also the first region to commit to targeting and deputising 10,000 Anti-Violence Champions. This drive encompasses schools and youth groups by allowing young people to stand up against violence and aggression in all forms, not just knife crime. Many schools in Powys have visited the Knife Angel and benefited from the workshops arranged – particularly the Crimestoppers Fearless School Talk one, which the Police and Crime Commissioner funds.
Whilst no official figures have been recorded for the number of people who have visited the monument, organisers and volunteers estimate that thousands have visited throughout the night and day – with many travelling to Newtown from all over the UK.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I hope I can lay claim to have been the first person to have welcomed the Angel in the Welsh language. And I’m excited about what we’ve been able to achieve here in Newtown over the past few weeks. The Dyfed-Powys Police area is the safest in Wales and England, we have low crime rates, low levels of violent crime and certainly low levels of knife crime, but we are not immune.
“I see this area very much as being the frontline of stopping criminality infiltrating our communities. Our Knife Angel message is about prevention - I am motivated to continually to see Dyfed-Powys as the safest place, and I want our youngsters to feel safe and secure. Delivering the Knife Angel to Newtown must be a catalyst to promote key prevention messages. It would be remiss of me not to thank Councillor Joy Jones, for being a local community leader that pushes the boundaries and gets things happening on the ground. I hope the community here in Newtown and further afield in Powys take this opportunity to understand the critical key message about crime prevention in particular relating to serious violence and knife crime. Any form of violence and aggression will not be tolerated.”
During the Angel’s visit a knife amnesty bin was placed next to it, encouraging everyone to surrender any knives to save lives. The bin was emptied before the Angel left, and it was full. The British Ironworks has confirmed that they will create a piece from these surrendered blades, which when completed will return to be displayed in Powys.
The feedback from those that have visited it speaks for itself in respect of the impact it has had. Here is an anonymised selection:
“So powerful, sending such an important message. Great to see an Angel of peace in Newtown.”
“Very thought provoking, raising awareness that violence of any form is not acceptable.”
“Amazing and powerful – well worth the visit.”
“This is so very powerful in respect of encouraging people to drop the knife. Well done Newtown for hosting the Angel.”
“The angel is a wonderful tribute to all those who have suffered or been lost due to knives.”
“Inspiring – everyone should visit the Angel.”
Dafydd Llywelyn and his team have been awarded the National Anti-Violence Award, in recognition of his positive impact upon the county of Powys, and assisting the UK tour of the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.