GOOD news about crime in Winchester city centre came from a recent city council meeting.

Tough action over the last six months has deterred several chronic offenders from committing crime. The new climate is such that they have directed their activities towards Southampton, said Chief Inspector Korine Bishop at the scrutiny committee.

Ten criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) have been imposed since the autumn, banning offenders from the High Street. Crime rates as a whole have dropped by 16 per cent in 2023.

Without sounding churlish this is to be welcomed but perhaps it should have been done earlier.

READ MORE HERE: Winchester shoplifters heading to Southampton after crackdown

This newspaper has reported for some time the repeat offending of a small number of people who live in a small number of hostels.

Yes, most of these people have mental health and drug issues but there comes a point where sympathy should be replaced by a determination to clampdown on these activities. Shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and assaults are not victimless crimes but harm the quality of life of people who are either the victims or witnesses.

It is important that society does not lower standards so such behaviour somehow becomes acceptable, because its perpetrators are classed as 'vulnerable'.

An associated question and one raised by neighbours of one of these hostels in St Cross is about the management of these places. Are the expectations placed on the residents simply too low? Those with long memories will remember state education in the 1970s when low expectations of pupil behaviour and attainment led to declining standards. One of the reasons why academic standards have risen in recent years is that the teaching professions expects more.