Star comment: Weapons in schools are worrying
The huge haul of weapons recovered from a single school in the Black Country is nothing short of shocking.
Over the course of six months pupils were relieved of BB guns, a bladed knuckleduster and knives.
The potentially deadly items were confiscated by staff and handed over to West Midlands Police, who released an image of the haul in a bid to highlight the challenge they face in dealing with armed teenagers.
The image in itself is extremely disturbing.
This is a battle that society as a whole is facing, not just the authorities.
Confiscating weapons should not be part of a teachers job description.
Their job is difficult enough job as it is, without having to worry about how many guns and knives they will find at their school.
Sadly, we live in increasingly violent times.
The crime rate is through the roof – and the most recent crime statistics have revealed a rise of 24 per cent in the number of people arrested for carrying weapons.
Knife crime has increased by 17 per cent over the last year.
It used to be the case that the majority of people carrying weapons were involved in gangs.
But things have changed and we can no longer simply attribute a spike in incidents involving weapons with a proliferation of gang culture.
Worryingly, for a significant number of young people, walking around with a weapon has become normal behaviour.
There are two ways to challenge this line of thinking.
The first is for more work in schools to warn young people of the perils of carrying weapons.
But as a country we must also address the simple fact that our sentencing guidelines for people who arm themselves are inadequate.
Anyone who leaves the house carrying a weapon of any type should be under no illusions that is they are caught, they will be spending a lengthy period of time behind bars.
If we do not address the weaknesses in our criminal justice system, then we can never hope to curb the damage that knife and gun crime is having on our communities.
This is a societal issue.
We must face it together or face the consequences.