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Royal Armouries tackles the issue of violent crime with new exhibition

Tuesday, 11 January 2022
Knives suspended behind a glass display case with an woman stood to one side looking in

Display case of knives, part of ‘At the Sharp End’ exhibition

A new temporary exhibition entitled ‘At the Sharp End: Tackling Violent Crime Together in West Yorkshire’ launches at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.

Addressing the issues of serious violent crime across the county, the innovative installation opened to the public on 7 January 2022. It has been developed in partnership with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) which is funded by the Home Office and run by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The VRU takes a unique public health led approach to tackle the underlying causes of violent crime, enabling specialists from health, police, education, youth justice, prisons, probation, and community groups to come together to help cut violent crime.

The hard-hitting and compact new display, uses objects, evidence and first-hand accounts to highlight both the effects of violent crime and the positive work done by West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit and the police to intervene and prevent youth violence.

It will feature the results of Operation Jemlock – a successful West Yorkshire police operation that has made over 6,000 arrests and confiscated over a thousand weapons over the last two and half years.

Young people from across the region have also taken part in a creative art competition on the subject of violence and how it affects them, with the winning pieces exhibited within the display. Sixteen-year-old Zainab Naeem from Leeds was awarded 1st place for her artwork, using images of dominoes to reflect the consequences of violence on individuals and communities. She said:

“With my piece I wanted to portray the impact of violence on not only the victims themselves but the knock-on-effect on their friends, families and whole communities, as I believe the large-scale impact and loss is often overlooked when discussing the severity of crime and violence.

“The dominoes are symbolic of the many lives affected and the cyclical sadness and loss from just one action. I decided to carry out some research and found out names of those who have passed away [and] are victims of serious violence to honour them by including their names on my drawing.”

Fourteen-year-old, Ania Groborz-Manu, from Bradford and twelve-year-old Junior Crosby from Leeds were also runners up with their high standard submissions. Each of their entries will now form an integral part of the display, offering unique perspectives to deliver important messages of safety to visitors.

‘At the Sharp End: Tackling Violent Crime Together in West Yorkshire’ will be exhibited at the Royal Armouries for six months, during which it is forecast that over 100,000 people will have the opportunity to see the display.

Following on from this, it is intended that the display will tour the West Yorkshire region.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin was at the official opening and said:

“This exhibition really brings to life the incredible amount of work taking place to reduce serious violence across West Yorkshire.

“Reflecting on both the challenges faced and the partnership interventions underway, it is a great way to engage people on a crucially important agenda.

“I think it will open many people’s eyes to the issues that exist and the scale of the response, whether that be around prevention or enforcement.

“As your Mayor, I have placed the safety of women and girls at the heart of my Policing and Crime Plan, especially as they are disproportionately impacted by violent crime.

“Educating and interacting with the public in this way will certainly help to achieve my goals and I am extremely pleased to see this high-profile display launch.”

Dr Edward Impey, Director General & Master of the Armouries, commenting on the new exhibition said:

“The Royal Armouries is committed to showing how human experiences have been, and continue to be, shaped by arms and armour. This is not a purely historical matter and is deeply relevant today as our towns and cities continue to suffer the impacts of violent crime. This new display created in collaboration with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit and featuring artwork from talented young people will demonstrate how violent crime is being tackled by communities and authorities working together.”


Notes to editors

Further enquiries to:

07919 626179

About West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.