16 February 2023
An anti-violence campaign that involved an 11-foot bee sculpture visiting Derbyshire has been hailed a ‘huge success’ after the monument prompted engagement from thousands of school children and members of the community.
The thought-provoking bee, which was created using seized knives and firearms, toured the county at the end of last year, starting with Derbyshire Police and Fire Headquarters.
As part of the campaign, schoolchildren were encouraged to enter a competition, which resulted in more than 1,000 entries being sent in, while local crafters sent in hundreds of knitted bees to be given out to those who visited the sculpture.
“The impact the bee had went above and beyond our expectations. We are all very pleased at how successful the campaign was,” said Inspector Ellen Lovatt, from Derbyshire Constabulary’s Operational Support Department.
“Even our team here at the police were quite shocked when we saw the sculpture for the first time, it was really impactful and definitely helped to send home a very powerful message.
“What I found so striking was the fact that the bee was created using some really violent weapons, yet it was still such a beautiful sculpture.”
Created at the British Ironwork Centre, the bee was two years in the making, echoing the same message the ‘Knife Angel’ did when it was made by the same team and launched back in 2018.
Along with visiting schools, the bee could be seen at Derbyshire Christmas Market, as well as a number of other local tourist attractions and community venues.
“Campaigns like this definitely help to bridge the gap between the police and the community. The bee acted as a tool for us to have important conversations with members of the public, helping us to spread the anti-violence messaging and secure long-term engagement with communities,” said Ellen.
“And better still, it prompted conversations between members of the public. By supporting the campaign, they were sharing messages on our behalf using the #beeunitedagainstviolence hashtag, which often proves to be much more effective than the police doing it.”
Cherry Tree Hill Primary School, in Chaddesden, was chosen as the winner of the bee artwork competition, with Colonel John Wilson OBE DL, Vice Lord-Lieutenant for Derbyshire, being part of the judging panel.
The school was awarded a visit from the Anti-violence Bee, the Force’s dog section and other Operational Support officers including drones.
Ellen continued: “We were blown away by the response we received from the public, especially the youngsters involved with the competition. The creativity we saw from both children and adults across Derbyshire was amazing.
“The bee did exactly what we wanted it to do - and that was to get the conversation going about the impact of violence and how we can all work together to prevent it. It was extremely encouraging to see people of all ages wanting to be involved with the campaign.”