WE watched as communities burned last week and then saw how a new community spirit rose from the ashes.
To see local businesses burn, homes destroyed and people wandering the streets in despair was heart-wrenching and then to discover many committing these crimes were children, under 18, is a sad indictment of society.
Straight after the riots, I met with police and have only praise for what they do.
Most of us have searched our souls in the last week wondering what we should be doing for our youth; from the parents of child-rioters who informed police, to community leaders, which include politicians, union leaders and teachers, even the media, who may have helped shine a light on events but who also allowed rioters to spread distorted views on TV whilst hidden under a veil of anonymity, posing in hoods and hiding their faces with scarves.
We all need to come together to look for answers; to find ways to unite those who feel separated from society, whilst at the same time standing firm to penalise law-breakers.
Media, politicians and union leaders need to choose their words carefully; for words are powerful tools and have been used in too many instances to provide justification and excuses were none should have been given.
When I became an MP I said one of the biggest issues facing our country was the million children not in work or education and why I began, and will continue, to work to ensure the youth in our communities are given every opportunity for education and employment.