Express & Star comment: Amber Rudd must be tougher on knife crime
Knife crime is a scourge on our society that is destroying lives at an increasing rate.
Over the past year, all over the country the figures for violent crime are up.
And the West Midlands has been hit particularly badly.
New figures show that the number of people convicted or cautioned for carrying knives and offensive weapons has gone up in the last 12 months.
While on one hand this shows that the police are committed to throwing the book at violent criminals, it also suggests that people are not being deterred from carrying knives on our streets.
This is a worrying development, and comes after the five year anniversary of the death of schoolgirl Christina Edkins, who was stabbed to death on the top deck of a bus.
We know that the consequences of carrying knives can be catastrophic.
It is also apparent that knife crime is an issue that the authorities in Britain are having difficulty with.
In a bid to take blades off the streets, two knife bins are set to be installed in Wolverhampton in the coming weeks, adding to the three already positioned in the city.
While we commend the police for their efforts to get knives out of the hands of hardened criminals, surely we have reached the point where we need more than just another community initiative?
Among the general public, there is a widely held view that the authorities are stuck in a cycle of revisiting old ideas when it comes to dealing with violent crime.
There is a danger that we are simply paying lip service to tackling knife crime.
The police say that those who carry or use a knife are likely to be arrested and prosecuted. But even if they are found guilty, they often receive insufficient prison sentences.
The Express & Star is campaigning for mandatory prison sentences for people caught carrying a knife.
We believe that current legislation, which says that anyone caught with a knife for a second time will be jailed, does not go far enough.
As Home Secretary Amber Rudd prepares to unveil her new 'tough' violent crime strategy, let's hope she includes a more stringent approach for dealing with offenders.