THE £5,000 installation and delivery of a temporary statue in Taunton town centre raising awareness of knife crime has been approved.

The Knife Angel statue will come to Taunton for four weeks and will be placed outside the Market House in April 2024.

The sculpture is made up of knives and blades confiscated by the UK’s 43 police forces.

Craig Stone, operations and events manager at Taunton Town Council said “the initiative will bring some focus to the anti-social behaviour issues and under-18 violent youth crime”.

Mr Stone added the Knife Angel will “showcase the impact that knife crime can have on families and communities”.

Cllr Bev Fernandes said: “It is something we should support. It is such an imposing sculpture; we should consider it for sure. I would support that.”

Cllr Martin Straus said: “I agree with Cllr Fernandes. It is an outstanding project. "Anything that we can do as town council should be supported to tackle knife crime.”

Cllr Caroline Ellis added Taunton recently had different public artworks, such as Gaia and the Moon at the Minster, and the town “need to keep it going”.

She said: “It’s not just an amazing work of art itself, it is a way to focus people’s attention on knife crime because they live in fear of going out, we need to be having conversations about it.

“The sculpture could make a huge difference.”

Cllr Paul Tooze, who also supports the initiative, asked whether the council would be responsible for eventual repairs.

He said: “This sounds negative, but it’s not. If something happens to it, are we responsible for cleaning up or repairing it?”

Mr Stone said there is a pre-insurance in place and that “it would be in a prominent position” covered by CCTV so “it is quite well protected”.

Cllr Giuseppe Fraschini supported the project too but said he was “torn” and raised concerns about the statue.

He said: “I am a little torn. Wouldn’t £5,000 be more beneficial if they went to schools and organisations rather than a temporary sculpture?”

Mr Stone added that school visits will be organised to raise awareness.

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts said "it is really important to bring the sculpture in Taunton" as "there have been knife crimes".

She also added, however, that "we should not create fear where it does not exist". 

The council unanimously agreed to commit £5,000 of the events budget for this initiative.

It was also resolved to make an additional £2,000 available to support local youth initiatives to undertake workshops highlighting the dangers of knife crime, to complement the sculpture.

The Knife Angel was designed by Alfie Bradley at the British Ironwork Centre (BIC) as a national monument against violence and aggression.

The statue will also be on display at the Italian Gardens in Weston-super-Mare’s town centre throughout May 2024.