Knife crime and religious tolerance were both on the agenda when the cross-party campaign group West  Midlands Together met in Birmingham

Alison Cope, a campaigner against knife crime who is supported by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, spoke of the death of her son Josh who was stabbed through the heart.

She said new campaign groups were springing up every six  months - but they were not working together. Children as young as seven were being groomed and exploited by gangs, she said, and young people's preoccupation with social media and video games was fuelling the problem.

Meera Sonecha, from West Midlands Mayor's office, spoke of Andy Street's Faith Action Plan and his determination to be a mayor for every faith community. She said hate crime had affected many people and communities were fearful about expressing their religious identities.

She said the mayor wanted particularly to target hate crime on public transport and was looking at what could be done in respect of cameras and monitoring, and how to achieve better messaging on the subject.

The joint-founder of West Midlands together Anthea McIntyre MEP said: "Violence involving knives is the real curse of our younger generation and we need to do all we can to guide them in the correct way.  Alison's message is personal and powerful, it speaks directly to young people and it needs to be heard more widely.

"Meera made clear the mayor's commitment to building good community relations and countering hate crime.

Philip Seccombe, Police and Commissioner for Warwickshire, said: "Most important thing is to make our forces are representative of the community they represent - all communities and groups.  That is what will give groups confidence in us."

West Midlands together was founded by Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, and her Labour colleague Neena Gill to foster tolerance and understanding following a spike in hate crime in the wake of the EU referendum.