Considering the unrest we’ve all seen on the streets in other parts of the country recently, it’s no surprise that similar scenes here sparked considerable distress.
When residents in Margate Road saw large crowds of youths appear outside their homes it was quite natural that they should fear the worst.
Let’s not forget that the vivid images of rioters causing mayhem and destruction in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other cities across the UK are still so fresh in all of our minds.
So when a gathering of rowdy teenagers took to the streets in Portsmouth, it’s understandable that some residents feared they were about to be caught up in a copycat riot.
The sight of so many noisy people – many of them drunk, shouting and throwing bottles – would be intimidating to most of us at the best of times.
But against the truly terrifying backdrop of the shameful scenes we’ve seen recently, it must have felt even more alarming.
As it turns out, the police were dealing with an out of control house party, not a repeat of a more organised riot.
But it’s clear that the situation could easily have spiralled out of control.
Thankfully, the police acted fast and we praise them for that because prompt intervention went a long way to alleviate fears in this case.
Of course, the response of police dealing with the riots in London has been called into question in the aftermath of what happened there, but the same can’t be said of Hampshire Constabulary.
Its officers acted swiftly and decisively – and we’re sure that was greatly appreciated by those anxious about the scenes rapidly gathering momentum outside their homes. Every available police officer was sent to the scene and the force attempted to keep residents updated.
Parents must now question where their children were on Tuesday night and step in to prevent a repeat performance.
It can be hard to keep tabs on teenagers but we all have a responsibility to keep our streets safe.