THE figures for juvenile drug and knife possession in Wiltshire, obtained by this newspaper under freedom of information rules, make for horrifying reading.

Among the depressing statistics are the revelation that over the last decade 349 children have been arrested for possession of drugs, with 131 of those arrests connected to the supply of Class A substances such as heroin.

It seems adult drug dealers are increasingly fond of using children as fronts for their businesses, although one has to wonder why the adults can be bothered taking such precautions when the chances of their spending much time in a cell are so tiny - even if they’re caught with enough poison to kill a herd of rhinos.

To add to the misery, since 2008 312 minors have been involved in weapons offences, including 18 arrested last year for carrying a knife in public.

Still, I daresay the latter total would have been much higher had it not been for the banning of zombie knives. After all, a knife with a bit of green paint on it is far more dangerous than any other type.

My first reaction to the figures was a barely coherent storm of rage and shame at society’s abject failure to protect children and young people from these scourges, which could put them in their graves at ages when most people can look forward to six or seven decades of productive, happy life.

I said: “We should keep getting rid of whoever is in ultimate charge of this mess until we find people who can do their jobs.” Then I realised that instead of lobbing criticisms we should all offer solutions, and I think I’ve come up with a great one.

It applies to the people ultimately responsible for the situation that’s grown up since about the 1990s, the ones who’ve made the decisions on everything from police funding and criminal sentencing to the basic handling of the economy.

We need to deal with the youth drug and weapons situation by playing to the strengths and competence of those important people.

As far as knives go - and I appreciate that this might seem counterintuitive and rather alarming - a brave measure is needed.

We must immediately make the manufacture and supply of all knives the sole responsibility of Whitehall.

May no knife be produced, sold or otherwise distributed in this country other than subject to the directives of the relevant committees, sub-committees and steering groups, and approval by senior civil servants.

I guarantee that within six months there will be such a huge knife shortage as has never been seen before.

Even if a few knives find their way into the wrong hands it won’t matter, because some unsackable functionary on 120 grand a year will have decided that metal blades are inferior and the new ones should all be made of marshmallow or polystyrene.

On the downside, we’ll all end up having to butter our toast with our fingers, and surgeons will be obliged to have at patients’ giblets with sharpened bits of flint.

Still, I reckon that’s a small price to pay.

Now that I think about it, let’s hand over the control and supply of anything else we want rid of to the same people.

Illicit drugs are an obvious example.

Put those under the control of the folk in ultimate charge of society and soon it won’t matter whether dealers are willing to recruit vulnerable people to sell stuff because there won’t be any to sell.

As an added bonus, it’ll be an official failing which leaves us all so relieved and delighted that no politicians or senior officials will feel obliged to squabble over whose fault it is.

Situation doesn’t deserve a second thought

IT’S been quite the week for depressing statistics about this neck of the woods.

As if the weapon and drug crime figures were not worrying enough, it seems that Swindon is second only to Slough as far as diabetes is concerned.

Much of the problem, according to health experts, is down to obesity.

This revelation comes hot on the heels of - or perhaps puffing desperately behind - news that the so-called Millennial generation is set to become the most obese ever by middle age.

Those among us who are older than Millennials must remember that this is our cue to say nasty things about them.

We must say that it is yet more proof of how shallow young people are today, and how lazy, and how they clearly prefer sitting around indoors, playing video games, to going outside and doing healthy things such as riding bikes, climbing trees, collecting tadpoles, playing football with jumpers as goal posts and so on.

We must on no account feel empathy or think deeply about the matter.

We must on no account reflect on the fact that plenty of young people and their parents are so lacking in funds that they must rely on cheap food.

We must on no account consider the fact that certain food manufacturers, many of whom employ expensive PR firms and lobbyists, are only too happy to meet that need with chemical laden, fatty, sugary, salty muck.

We must on no account reflect on how many playing fields and suchlike have been flogged to developers and bulldozed.

If we began thinking about such things, we might also begin thinking about how the situation might be changed, and that would never do.