As we head into summer, everyone is hoping it turns out like last year . . . certainly the weather. But no one wants a repeat of some of the problems a long, hot summer can bring.
Gangs of youths wandering the streets of our villages brought scores of complaints. Even if they were doing no wrong, many people felt threatened by the teenagers.
Petitions were raised and pressure was put on the police to “do something”. To their credit, they have taken the pleas seriously and, in Alvechurch at least, believe they have weeded out the worst of the problems.
In Cofton Hackett, where residents feel almost under siege by “baseball-capped” gangs, the police have been meeting with local people to try to find a solution.
As one police sergeant told residents, this is all about “community”: the reason we have fewer police in this country than many others is because we are policed “by consent” . . . we all work together.
But this “community” has been eroded by modern lifestyles. The same changes mean there are now few organisations for young people because time and red tape make it difficult for adults to contribute.
At last this is being recognised. A council-backed youth initiative in Alvechurch is attracting 30 teenagers a week, while in Cofton, residents are hoping to rejuvenate a Neighbourhood Watch network which had dwindled from nearly 50 to three members.
It is only a start, but rekindling the community will mean everyone can enjoy the sunshine.