The Tory candidate for Southend West and Leigh has had "crunch talks" with police bosses on tackling knife crime ahead of the arrival of the knife angel sculpture.

Anna Firth met with Essex police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst and policing minister Chris Philp on Thursday June 13 to discuss plans to tackle knife-crime.

This is ahead of the arrival of the "knife angel" sculpture on July 1, which is taking up residence in Southend City Centre.

The sculpture, made from 100,000 seized knives and blades stands at 27 foot tall and weighs more than three tonnes.

Ms Firth said: "I was delighted to have both the policing minister and the police, fire and crime commissioner come to Southend to meet with me to talk about the work that the government has been doing to tackle knife crime and about what I’ve been doing here in Southend.

"The arrival of the Knife Angel on July 1st will be a big moment for our city.

"We need to continue to raise awareness among our young people of the dangers of carrying knives and discourage anyone from doing so."

Mr Hirst added that while there is still "too much antisocial behaviour" happening in Southend, initiatives like "knife bins" and "knife poles" had helped tackle the issue.

He said: "We’ve got anti-social behaviour hotspots, particularly around the seafront and the pier, in parks and other open spaces and it’s working because since last year, anti-social behaviour is down by 50 per cent.

"The knife bins are a really good thing in terms of getting people to surrender their weapons and getting dangerous knives off our streets.

"Thanks to Anna’s lobbying efforts we’ve had the first deployment of the ‘knife poles’ which help detect people carrying weapons.

"Anna has been instrumental in getting the Knife Angel to come to Southend and I’m sure that it’s arrival will get people talking about the dangers of carrying weapons and will result is fewer people doing so."

Mr Philp added: "Following the tireless campaigning by Anna Firth as MP for Southend West and Leigh, we took legislation through parliament which was passed just a few months ago to ban dangerous machetes and zombie knives.

"Anna raised this issue with me as policing minister, and as a response to her persuasive campaigning, we took the relevant steps through Parliament, and in September this year, these knives will be banned, thanks entirely to the efforts of Anna Firth."

The candidates in the General Election for Southend West and Leigh are: 

  • Anna Firth - Conservative. 
  • David Burton-Sampson - Labour.
  • Tom Darwood - Independent. 
  • Robert Francis - Independent. 
  • Tilly Hogrebe - Greens. 
  • Lara Hurley - Heritage Party. 
  • Peter Little - Reform UK. 
  • James Miller - Confelicity. 
  • Jason Pilley - Psychedelic Movement. 
  • Stephen Cummins - Lib Dems.