Star comment: Soft justice is to blame for violence
We make no apology for returning to the issue of the recent spate of violent crimes that have rocked the West Midlands.
The Black Country has seen 10 murders already this year, while it is becoming difficult to keep track of the number of violent incidents that take place on our streets.
In the West Midlands eight people have been killed in fatal stabbings since June, and since the start of the summer there have been 57 reported shootings across the region – more than Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire combined.
Meanwhile, on one night earlier this week – on the back of a weekend that saw two murders – police officers were shot at while inside an unmarked car. At the time they were on an operation aimed at tackling gun crime.
We know from recent official statistics that crime is at a 10-year high, with huge increases in robberies, burglaries and car crime.
However, the fact that the number of people being caught in possession of offensive weapons rocketed by almost a quarter was arguably of most concern.
With that in mind, it is good to see that West Midlands Police are committed to tackling violent crime as a matter of priority. The force’s chief constable, Dave Thompson, says he is determined to curb the recent upsurge in gun and knife crime.
But as has become crystal clear in recent years, the force needs help if we are to see a drastic reduction inthe these shocking incidents that are blighting our communities.
The main problem lies squarely with our criminal justice system, which currently affords little deterrent for those who feel the need to wander around the streets with a blade on their person.
It was not so long ago that former Prime Minister David Cameron talked about automatic prison sentences for anyone found carrying a knife in public.
If people knew they would face a five-year mandatory sentence for carrying a knife they may think twice about their actions.
Too many lives have been lost while the powers-that-be stand on the sidelines wringing their hands.
Sadly, without the intervention of the Government and the swift implementation of tougher sentences, the situation is likely to get worse.