A KNIFE Dragon will be used as a weapon for education.
Coleg Cambria, North Wales Police, Wrexham Council and other stakeholders have joined forces to construct a three-metre ‘Knife Dragon’ using weapons safely handed in at local police stations as part of regional amnesty campaigns.
The sculpture is under construction at the college’s Bersham Road site, where students and staff will spend the next year welding and fabricating submitted items – including blades and knuckle dusters – onto a steel frame.
Inspired by the 20ft ‘Knife Angel’ designed by artist Alfie Bradley, unveiled in 2017, Assistant Principal for the Institute of Technology and Site Lead at Bersham Road Karl Jackson said: “This statue will form the centrepiece for multi-agency work that will inform and educate in an effort to maintain low instances and reduce occurrences of knife crime in the area.
“For several years we have been in discussions with North Wales Police and Wrexham Council about designing and constructing an artwork that will help raise the profile of knife awareness campaigns.
“Our concept is that of a dragon protecting a child; the dragon will be welded by our skilled tutors and learners, and I’m sure will look incredible on completion.
“It will be placed on a concrete plinth of Welsh stone slate in front of the Institute of Technology, with red, white, and green up-lighting to represent the dragon sitting amongst the remnants of a Welsh Castle.”
He added: “The sculpture will be based at the college but – in partnership with the council and local knife crime group – it can be moved and transported to spread the message and help educate people as to the dangers of carrying weapons and the devastation knife crime can cause.”
Wrexham Town Inspector Luke Hughes said the area experiences a low level of knife crime, adding: “Wrexham is a particularly safe place where knife crime isn’t as big a problem as it is in other parts of the country.
“However, through the very nature of offences involving knives, it only takes a single act to cause devastation. In a moment of madness, the lives of so many people can be changed in an instant.
“As such, it is particularly important that we can create opportunities to highlight knife crime and what we can do to prevent it.
“In recent months we have taken more than a hundred knives off the streets of Wrexham in our local amnesty.
“The ‘Knife Dragon’ offers a way in which we can work with our partners on a project that just might prevent another tragedy. Made with weapons we have seized from our own streets; they will never again be in position to harm anyone.
“We all have a responsibility to educate anyone who may think it acceptable to carry a knife. The consequences for doing so can be catastrophic.
“This project serves as a reminder that as a community we can protect our most vulnerable by working together to raise awareness and educate anyone who might otherwise make the wrong choices.”
Wrexham’s Lead Member for Communities Collaboration and Partnerships, Cllr Hugh Jones, said: “North Wales and Wrexham are very safe places to live and work.
“We work closely with local and national organisations in efforts to curtail instances of crime. Knife related crime doesn’t just impact on the victim and their immediate family, it also impacts on the wider community.
“We are proud to be part of this project, and hope that the dragon will bring about discussion on how and why these weapons have no place in our communities.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “North Wales is one of the safest areas in the UK in which to live and work and my focus remains on keeping our communities safe.
“This is an issue about which I will never be complacent, and this sculpture will send out a powerful message about the dangers of knife crime. The more we can do to raise awareness the better.”
If you have concerns about knife crime, call North Wales Police on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, visit www.fearless.org/en/give-info.