Express & Star comment: A&Es have to help stop knife crime
For the fight against knife crime to stand any chance of succeeding, it must be a community effort.
That means all of us, from the police to the average man and woman in the street, must play our part in curbing what has sadly become an epidemic in some parts of the country.
With that in mind, it is concerning to see claims that A&E departments in Staffordshire are not providing information about knife injuries to the county’s police force.
The region’s police and crime commissioner Matthew Ellis says that a lack of co-operation between hospitals and the force means that crucial details relating to stabbing incidents are not being reported.
This is sure to raise a few eyebrows, as the majority of people would assume that the police would be informed of any suspected knife injury as a matter of course.
Let’s not forget, this is not the first time this has happened in Staffordshire. Similar complaints were raised two years ago.
The police rely on intelligence to help solve crime. In the current climate where stabbings are occurring all to regularly, they need all the help they can get.
The concern is that criminals could be getting away with violent acts simply because they are never reported to the authorities.
If someone gets away with it once, who is to say that the next time it won’t be fatal? All of our agencies need to work together to combat knife crime. It is an issue that the police cannot tackle alone.
Granted, in Staffordshire knife crime is not as serious an issue as it is elsewhere in the West Midlands.
But nobody should rest on their laurels, and across the county there has been a worrying rise in the number of people caught carrying knives in recent months.
Indeed, there is a reason why the force has said that stamping out knife crime is a priority.
If suspected stabbings are not reported, there is no chance of such incidents being dealt with in the appropriate way.
Health bosses must work closely with the police to tackle knife crime.
As Mr Ellis rightly says, this issue must be properly addressed as a matter of urgency.