The Salvation Army in Stratford this week launched the area’s only knife surrender bin (beyond the boundary of a police station) following a successful campaign by local churches.
Installation and its first five years of operation have been funded by Transform Newham, an informal network of local churches, and by the London Borough of Newham. The new bin is located in Stratford, one of the borough of Newham’s crime hot spots, outside The Salvation Army church centre. It offers people the opportunity to give up weapons anonymously and safely, without risk of arrest.
The bin has been prepared and installed by Word 4 Weapons, the UK’s leading weapons surrender charity. It was launched at a short event, hosted by the Salvation Army and attended by around 75 representatives from the local community. Its launch follows the death of a man who was stabbed on 17 June, just a few minutes’ walk from the bin. Last year, knife offences reached a record 40,000 in England and Wales, with around a third of them in London Office for National Statistics, ‘Crime in England and Wales’, 25 April 2019..
Captain Lee Raggett, one of the leaders of The Salvation Army in Stratford, said:
“On behalf of the local community, we’re extremely grateful to Transform Newham for their funding and to the London Borough of Newham for matching it.
“This project has been on our hearts ever since a young man died from knife injuries a few streets away in summer 2015, and sadly a nearby attack claimed another victim only last month. We need to take action now, and we’re delighted to be able to host the new bin outside our church for the benefit of the whole community.”
Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz, who attended and spoke at the event, said:
“I welcome the installation of this knife bin, and thank Transform Newham for taking the lead in making it happen – we as a council are proud to have played our part in funding it.
“Since I was elected last year, I have made keeping our young people safe one of my top priorities – that’s why I have invested an extra £1.4 million expanding youth services in the borough. This investment seals a promise I made to young people when I was elected, that I would do everything in my power to keep them safe. I would urge anyone who is carrying a blade to make use of the bin – and reduce the risk to your life that comes with carrying a knife.”
Dr Sally Mann, Senior Minister of Bonny Downs Baptist Church, first announced plans for the bin at a community event in East Ham on 15 June. Speaking at the launch in Stratford, she said:
“I’d like to say a special thank you to all the local people who have contributed to our campaign and helped fund the only knife surrender bin beyond the boundary of a police station in Newham. Every weapon taken out of use helps to make our community a little bit safer. If this bin helps just one person to change their behaviour, it will help to save precious lives in East London.”