WHEN it comes to tackling our worst social problems there is plenty of evidence that “he who hesitates is lost”.
In other words, the longer we ignore or delay taking action on the issues that trouble us most, the harder they are to sort out. That is particularly true when it comes to dealing with young people who have perhaps lost their way in life.
Sometimes the authorities get it right, such as the early intervention scheme which identified children in the first years of Scottish primary school who were struggling with the “three Rs” and tried to bring them up to speed with the rest of the class – before they dragged the rest back.
Then there’s last year’s NHS Lothian pilot project which saw teams of nurses and others work intensively with teen mums to help them deal with motherhood. Again, this scheme has obvious wider social benefits and it is now being rolled out across Scotland.
Today, we highlight another example of how early intervention can work – the “Edinburgh guarantee”, which finds apprenticeships for school-leavers who can’t get work or a place to study.
In year one, the percentage of kids not in employment or education has fallen from 16 per cent to 11 per cent. There’s still a lot of work to be done to find places for the rest and some kids will always be out of reach.
But it’s a solid start for an innovate project which is being pushed by the city council and backed by many local firms.
As such, it is a noble example of how we can best tackle great problems such as crime, vandalism and benefit dependence by taking early action to give the next generation hope that life might just have something better on offer.
Get the grinches
THE success of yesterday’s police raids on serial housebreakers across the Capital is to be welcomed and applauded, a timely reminder that not everyone shares in the Christmas spirit.
Some see all those presents hidden away at the bottom of cupboards as simply a golden opportunity to help themselves to other people’s property.
That’s why it is more important than ever at this time of year to stay vigilant when it comes to home security.
But, don’t worry, the chances of suffering a break-in in Edinburgh are still relatively low. And just think of the look on those thieves’ faces when the police came crashing through their doors at the crack of dawn yesterday.