It is always easy to look back at the past through rose-tinted glasses and think the everything was better in “the good old days”.
The young neighbourhood tearaway would get a clip round the ear from a Pc Murdoch or Dixon of Dock Green-type figure who would nip trouble in the bud by having a quiet word in their father’s ear.
There is at least a touch of romanticism about the popular image of the beat bobby of days gone by.
But the main reason that the well-kent community policeman that had everyone’s ear has become such an enduring cliche is that it was firmly based in truth.
The best police officers have always had good local knowledge, gleaned from their widespread contacts in the local community.
Seasoned detective will tell you that even in these days of DNA analysis and computers studying crime patterns that often nothing can beat good local “intelligence”.
Putting community officers at the centre of policing in the Capital is simply good sense.
There has been a lot of concern since the launch of Police Scotland that the policing of Edinburgh has become more detached from the people of the city and their priorities. Much of that concern remains.
But Edinburgh’s police commander Mark Williams deserves credit for taking a bold step today in reshaping the local force.
Honour a legend
Credit is also due today to the city council for dispensing with the convention that was blocking a street near Easter Road stadium being named after the late great Lawrie Reilly.
The calls which local councillor Alex Lunn has received from Jambos supporting the campaign to honour one of Scotland’s great sportsmen in his own backyard says it all. It is time to honour a legend.