THE tragic death of a 16-year-old who was fatally stabbed in Stourbridge at the weekend has rightly concerned residents.

It appears it was an isolated incident and I praise the police for their prompt arrests with four individuals now charged with the murder of Birmingham teenager, Joe Riches.

Unfortunately, the West Midlands has the highest rate of knife crime in England at the moment and this causes me great concern when we have a fatal stabbing right on our doorstep.

I have spoken about this publicly and held a debate in Westminster about the rise in knife crime across the West Midlands.

Whoever is in post as the Police and Crime Commissioner and regardless of politics, we need to fix this. Some may try and throw the political book at it, which I know others are doing, but instead we should all be throwing commitment at stopping young adults carrying knives. That is what it is all about and what needs to be done.

We need to prevent more lives from being lost. Knife crime destroys lives and families, and it is blighting our communities. We need to take knives off our streets. Carrying weapons is a scourge on our society. People who insist on carrying a weapon must know that there will be severe consequences.

The new chief constable for West Midlands Police has said that more neighbourhood policing is needed, and I fully agree. I will be speaking to him to discuss the situation on the ground in Stourbridge as soon as possible.

However, the delay in our police station is of deep concern. If this weekend has taught us anything, it is that the Police and Crime Commissioner, Chief Constable and Chief Superintendent need to ensure the police estates team work at pace to deliver that police hub sooner rather than later.

The police have my full support to ramp up the use of stop and search, wherever necessary, to prevent violence and save more lives. And I urge them to ensure their officers are prepared to use the full powers at their disposal.

This week myself, Jason Connon and the Passey family will have met West Midlands Police to talk more about the 18 recommendations and potential new lines of enquiry following the review of the original 2017 police investigation into the killing of Ryan Passey. A reminder of the ongoing devastation knife crime can have on a family; a family who is still grieving six years on from the loss of their beloved son Ryan. If this is not a stark reminder of the devastation of knife crime on a family, then I don’t know what is.

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