Express & Star comment: let's unite to combat knife crime
As Britain's knife crime epidemic deepens, the search for a scapegoat has continued to gather pace.
And in recent weeks our education system has come under the microscope, with MPs, police commissioners and high ranking officers questioning the role of schools in the increase in violent crime.
There is no doubt that youngsters who are excluded from mainstream education are more likely to be involved in crime.
The statistics are there to back it up.
But that does not mean that we should be queuing up to blame schools and teachers for the deadly spate of stabbings on our streets.
Ofsted's chief of inspections, Amanda Spielman, is absolutely right when she says that knife crime and school exclusions are symptoms of the same underlying problems in wider society.
The vast majority of schools have the very best interests of their pupils at heart, with staff working tirelessly to ensure that youngsters are given the best possible start in life.
Interestingly, Mrs Spielman claims that some schools are concerned that if they address the issue of knife crime, they will be seen as a ‘problem school’ that is to be avoided by parents at all costs.
The fear over 'sending the wrong message' is something that afflicts all of society, not just schools.
Tragically, it has taken a series of deadly stabbings to bring this issue to the fore.
At least now there is genuine hope that relevant bodies will join forces to tackle knife crime head on.
If we are to get to the root causes of the epidemic, we must follow a long and difficult road.
There will be plenty of home truths along the way, and everyone, from government to our police and the criminal justice system, community groups, health services and charities, must work together for the greater good.
Pointing the finger of accusation is fruitless.
There is no simple solution to this complex issue, and there is nothing to be gained from a blame culture that constantly dwells on past failings.
Knife crime is blighting this country, turning parts of Britain's towns and cities into violent, no-go areas.
If we are to combat it, we must do so as a whole society.