WHEN a young life is taken it devastates a family, shocks a community and causes widespread grief.

Sadly, and unacceptably, it now seems a sign of the times. Lives almost regularly being lost through knife crime.

How many more will be wasted before some assertive action is taken by the powers-that-be?

Too often we tell of crimes committed with knives. Virtually every week.

This week heartbreaking tributes are paid to Jordan Douherty, of Chafford Hundred. He was stabbed to death after a birthday party. He was just 15. He was killed in Romford, but senseless deaths have not been uncommon across Essex.

I was having dinner with a former Essex police chief the other night who spent decades working in the county.

He simply can not believe the levels of knife crime at the moment. He firmly believes officers on the street have a direct impact on crime reduction, through presence and information gleamed from the public. As he said “It’s not rocket science”.

Also, for me, maybe it’s time for first-time knife offenders to be jailed. Currently there’s leniency on first-time offenders, they are often not jailed until they are caught with a knife again.

But if being caught with a knife meant an automatic prison sentence maybe it would send out the strong message required.

Something has to change, and soon.

There have already been too many young lives taken on the streets of Essex and beyond.