When gangs of ‘bored’ children start terrorising a neighbourhood by throwing stones at windows and mud at cars, residents expect swift police action.
All too often in the past it has taken far too long for the bureaucratic cogs to engage, and by the time something is done, it is too late.
But, as we report on page 18 today, prompt action is exactly what people have got in the Somers Town and Southsea areas of Portsmouth.
The police have reacted quickly and slapped a dispersal order on the area to stop things now before they escalate.
This is precisely what Hampshire’s new chief constable Olivia Pinkney wants to see.
As she says in our interview with her on page 5: ‘Our job is to protect the vulnerable, our job is to stop offending and to thereby protect communities.’
Well she would, wouldn’t she?
Mrs Pinkney is just four days into her job with a to-do list which is probably as long as the arm of the law she enforces.
It is good to see she appears to be up to speed with one of the biggest issues facing Portsmouth – extremism, or race hate.
She refers to the placing of a severed pig’s head on the gates of an Islamic school in the city as ‘horrible’. Of course it was.
But conversely we hope that high on her list of challenges will be tackling the radicalisation of young Muslim men in the city, a trend which is equally disturbing.
She describes Portsmouth as ‘a great city’ and we certainly hope she means it when she says the public will still be able to go to a police station of sorts in the city once Fratton and Portsmouth Central close, and not have to rely on the phone or social media.
And while we are on the subject of the media, it would be nice to think that those in the force, both uniformed and civilian, might now be encouraged to be more open with the press, just as their counterparts across the border in Sussex are – Mrs Pinkney’s old force.