Like most people I was shocked by the scenes we have witnessed on our television screens in parts of London and other cities during this last week.
The violence and vandalism is disgraceful criminal behaviour and the Police and Fire Service deserve great credit for doing a valiant job in incredibly difficult circumstances.
But once calm has been restored, we need to learn the lessons from these awful events and ask some searching questions.
The first priority must be to ensure the Police have sufficient resources to deal with outbreaks of mass lawlessness so that people and property are protected.
The public will also rightly demand and expect that those guilty of this criminality are brought to justice.
But the bigger challenge is how we go about building cohesive sustainable communities where young people feel engaged, have a sense of civic pride and above all hope for the future.
This will be no mean feat. In some areas there is a tangible disconnect between a number of young people and the rest of society, which will have undoubtedly contributed to the riotous behaviour.
Speaking on Sky News before the general election, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, made an extraordinarily prophetic predication about “a very serious risk” of rioting if huge cuts were implemented.
The government therefore needs to undertake a complete rethink on its economic austerity measures that are now beginning to bite.
In light of recent happenings, it would be crazy for the government to proceed with its planned cuts in the number of Police and Fire Fighters. Indeed, ministers should reverse the cuts in these services that have already taken place.
But that is only part of the story. We also need an enduring preventative strategy to change the mindset of those alienated young people who think it is okay to smash up their own neighbourhoods.
Scrapping EMA and the Future Jobs Fund, severely curtailing youth services and reducing Surestart provision that offers help with parenting skills, just makes it harder to engage disengaged young people.
There are obviously issues like gang membership linked to the outbreaks of this violent disorder and I know Derby has had its own problems with gangs in recent years.
But I also know organisations like Derby’s Enthusiasm Trust undertake groundbreaking work to deflect young people from joining gangs and getting involved in a culture of violence.
However, unless the government rethinks its draconian public service cuts, funding for this kind of pioneering youth work will not be available.
Such a rethink would have the dual benefit of protecting public services, which make our society a decent place to live, and simultaneously increase employment opportunities for young people too.
Nothing can justify the looting and fire setting that we have observed, but unless we address the underlying causes of this disaffection, my fear is it will happen again.
I have been arguing that the Government was going too far and too fast with its cuts agenda ever since the Chancellor introduced his emergency budget in June last year.
The events of the last week demonstrate that there is an urgent social, as well as an economic imperative for the Chancellor to embrace a Plan B. His fiscal medicine just isn’t working and made it harder to respond to and prevent the dreadful scenes of the five days.