Why I have campaigned for new weapons bins to be installed in Sheffield

Back in early 2018 I completed my first weapons collection, resulting in 12 blades being prevented from getting into the wrong hands.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 3:27 pm

I collected them from worried grandparents, parents and a children’s home. Now, I had a bunch of knives and no way to dispose of them. I didn’t get anywhere with the police, so I sought out a knife bin. I disposed of the knives in a knife bin near Spital Hill and emailed the owner with a few questions. What is the bin made of? How often is it emptied? Etc. The reply I received did not answer any of the questions and it left me feeling quite unsure about disposing knives there. Consequently, I decided to purchase my own.

After conducting some research, I found out a number of things that I wanted to change: The first thing was mobility. I wanted a weapons bin that could be moved around easily and be safely fasted to fences, posts or the wall. So, my bins are small enough to fit in a boot of a car, for easy transportation, the bins are also fitted with four brackets at the back to allow it to be fasted securely with ease.

The second aspect was sending a positive message. I stayed away from derogatory messages such as “only fools carry knives” or “you don’t have a life if you carry a knife”. My message was to be simple yet effective and written in different languages to further its positive reach.

Anthony with the weapons bin.

The final hurdle was getting the community involved, letting people know the bin is there and that they can use it. This shows the community that we are actively trying to help reduce violent crimes within the area.

After a few emails to the manufacturer, the bin was designed and the first ever portable weapon amnesty bin was delivered and installed at Spartan House, S4 7LJ, it has been there ever since: collecting around 40 knives and a gun up to date. Not once has it been vandalized or shown any signs of a break in. It works and most importantly it gives people an option to safely dispose of their weapons.

In July 2020, I created a go fund me and a raffle to raise funds to purchase five more. It was a great success, the Go Fund Me made £1,500 and a number of South Yorkshire based business’ donated prizes to the raffle making an amazing £1,000. WE DID IT.

The next step was to find areas which they could be placed. In total I have contacted around 10 community areas, some of which were on board straight away. “It’s giving people a safe option to get rid of their knives, I’m all in” said Denton Reagan of De Hood. Unfortunately, others were not so fond of the idea: “if we have a weapons bin in our area, others will think that we have a problem with knife crime”.

What worries me is how damaging this type of mindset is. I have found a large number of young people have adopted a similar mindset; “Other young people are carrying knives, so I will carry one to protect myself”. This way of thinking is taking lives, not saving them.

We now have a total of six weapons bins in South Yorkshire; five in Sheffield and one in Barnsley with an additional two on the way.

The locations of our bins in Sheffield are:

Spartan House; 20 Carlisle Street Bushfire Ministries; 427 Halifax Road IELTC; 29A Wicker Dehood Boxing Centre; Queen Mary Road Jordanthorpe Library; Jordanthorpe Centre

I have worked closely with communities to compile a FAQ sheet on the weapons bin which is mostly focused on safety as it is a major concern; understandably.

What is this weapon amnesty bin manufactured from? It is manufactured from strong and durable, premium 2mm hot dipped galvanised steel. Making it difficult to damage; this unit is built to last!

How secure is this weapon amnesty bin? It is manufactured with universal, anti-vandal padlock hasps that enable a secure padlock to be fitted to stop unwanted break-ins using bolt croppers. The door has stainless-steel rod hinges with a five-point welded tie sections and an anti-crowbar return to prevent it becoming a weak point. An internal baffle system and one-way chute prevents anyone from removing items.

What is the capacity of the weapon amnesty bin? It has a 30-litre capacity to ensure all items can be deposited securely and can be safely emptied without becoming dangerous or heavy.

What kind of padlock is used? The locks are tough, difficult to break, and water resistant.

How is it fastened/secured? Industrial high-strength zinc plated welded steel chains that are through-hardened making them extremely difficult to cut.

How often is it emptied? The bins are checked weekly, any weapons found are removed straight away for inspection.

What happens if the weapons look like they have been used? All weapons are examined thoroughly, if any look like they have been used they are put in a sealed bag, dated and handed in to police.

What happens to them once they are collected? All firearms are reported and collected by the police. We are storing the weapons safely in a secure location to create a positive sculpture with the remaining weapons.

Who collects the weapons? A fully licensed security operative equipped with slash proof Kevlar gloves and Home Office approved stab proof vest.

If you feel that your area would benefit from a bin get in touch. We will make a difference together. I thank everyone who donated money, the business that donated a raffle prize and everyone who bought a ticket. This would not have been possible without you.