THE murders of two 17-year-olds last weekend catapulted knife crime back into news headlines.

On Friday, 17-year-old Jodie Chesney, was stabbed to death in a park in east London. An explorer scout, Jodie had been at 10 Downing Street at a Remembrance Day event just a few months ago. A man has been arrested in connection with her murder.

The next day 17-year-old Yousef Ghaleb Makki was fatally stabbed in a village in the Borough of Greater Manchester. By all accounts, Yousef was a bright and ambitious A-level student. Two 17-year-old boys have been charged in connection with his death.

These are not the kind of young people we have been conditioned to expect to die from knife crime. Their deaths show that knife violence involving teenagers is not, as is sometimes suggested, a problem confined to boys on tough estates. They remind us that there is no typical stabbing and thus no single solution.

Politicians respond accordingly, pursuing policies that may not solve the problems but will catch the media’s attention, and the crisis has, as it should, sparked a row about police funding and, quite rightly, calls for more officers on the beat.

But to focus solely on policing is missing the point. Austerity’s impact on other services, including the Sure Start family centres, has been at least as damaging.

Poverty and lack of opportunity are among the causes of serious youth violence.

Only hours before this newspaper went to print, a man in his 20s was stabbed to death in east London – the third knife murder victim in six days, so when crime commissioners in the worst-hit areas describe a national emergency, hand-wringing is not enough.