Just yesterday, a 7.5 tonne lorry arrived here at the Ironworks to deliver thousands of weapons – including knives and guns – which have been collected from the streets of Manchester. All weapons were collected as part of the Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) ‘Forever Amnesty’. The knife and gun banks used for the amnesty were designed and created here at the Centre, and have been utilised as a continual programme to encourage and support the public to surrender their dangerous weapons in order to clear the streets of violent and aggressive behaviour. Manchester are the first location in the UK to develop and commit to an ongoing amnesty project like this, with all collected weapons to be used to create an anti-violence monument for the city.
Pictured: Clive Knowles, Chairman of the British Ironwork Centre & Paul Nolan, GMP Sergeant (Violence Reduction Unit)
The variety and sheer volume of weapons delivered to the Ironworks was a stark reminder that our need to suppress violence is a continual effort that requires a continual focus. The piece that we create for Manchester will be their first and only anti-violence monument created from recovered weapons, so it will be entirely unique on many fronts. Directed by the GMP, we have already submitted concept drawings showcasing what the monument could look like using the weaponry that they have delivered to us. Taking inspiration from Manchester’s bee symbolism, the monument will take on the form of a giant bee, watching over the city and providing a permanent reminder of their stance against violent and aggressive behaviour. It will be used by not only the GMP but also different groups all across the city, and the wider region, as an educational tool to symbolise Manchester’s intolerance to all forms of violence. A suitable location for the monument is still yet to be decided upon but, of course, it will be placed in a very prominent position where the maximum number of residents and visitors will be able to view and appreciate it.
Meetings and dialogue with GMP will continue to refine this project and will hopefully see a final design, location, and timeline for completion being decided upon soon. Currently, we are also in conversation over Manchester hosting the Knife Angel – which is predicted to be in August 2021.