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Express & Star comment: Prevention the key to curbing violent crime

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

The death of a loved one is the worst possible thing that can happen to any family.

This is particularly true when a life has been taken as a result of a most senseless act.

The family of James Brindley know all about the pain and suffering that accompanies such a tragic loss.

James was 26 years old when he was stabbed to death by a complete stranger in June 2017, a mindless murder that to this day has never been explained by the despicable thug responsible.

James’ father, Mark Brindley, along with other members of his family, now dedicate their time to warning against the dangers of knife crime through the James Brindley Foundation they set up in his memory.

In his view, prevention is the key to tackling the rising tide of violence.

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Once young people are involved in gangs it is sadly often too late to save them, which is why it is vital that the authorities do everything they can to break the cycle of violence as early as possible.

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Thankfully, West Midlands Police has listened to the concerns of victims’ families, as well as agencies involved in health, youth work and rehabilitation programmes.

These voices have influenced the force’s new strategy to tackle violent crime, which focuses on preventing people from getting drawn into violence in the first place.

In this country, there is a commonly held view that the authorities have become too soft on crime in recent years.

People are understandably tired of seeing violent criminals walking out of court with suspended sentences and community orders.

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While the Government has pledged to get tough on crime – and stronger sentences would certainly be welcomed – there is also a need to address it’s root causes.

It is time we stopped young people from setting out on the pathway to violence.

To do that, we need an approach that encompasses more than just an attitude of ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’.

As crime commissioner David Jamieson says, this is about more than words, it’s about actions.

Only time will tell whether this new strategy stops the rapid rise of violent crime.

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