COMMENT: The return of good weather shouldn't bring dread
For many the return of decent weather over the weekend just gone was cause for, if not necessarily celebration, then at least some happiness.
But for people living in some areas, the warmer weather brings with it a sense of dread, as residents know that it will bring something far less welcome.
In emails seen by The News, those living in Old Portsmouth have spoken of how they effectively feel like prisoners in their own homes, and of ‘anarchy in the streets’ as gangs of dozens of youths have descended on their area – intimidating residents with foul-mouthed and abusive behaviour, causing criminal damage and generally unleashing a whole raft of anti-social behaviour.
And they are already concerned that this weekend is just a little taster for worse to come over the summer months.
While there have been problems arising from tombstoning – jumping off the Hotwalls into water of unknown depths – the locals say this should not be the main focus of policing.
In recent years, the council has pumped an awful lot of money into the area, with the transformation of the arches into a thriving arts hub.
And even with that aside, it should be a beautiful part of the city to visit.
But no-one will want to spend time there if they run the risk of being accosted by gangs running wild.
Dispersal orders have been used in the past to some success, but it seems a more focused approach is needed.
The installation of extra CCTV cameras is a good start, but it needs to be backed up with action. Those living in the area need to know that they have got the full support of police and the associated agencies. And they need to see that support in action.
It would be sad if the only cure to the problem was more rain.