IT was heartening to learn that police officers have been out and about knocking on doors in Archer Road, Stevenage asking residents about their concerns.

Around 600 homes were targeted and there were apparently “really positive responses” from members of the public who were pleased to see officers on their doorsteps.

The majority of people said they were very happy with the work police were doing in the neighbourhood.

It is good to hear that, as police are not seen in such a rosy light nationally.

A new survey has found that people think the police do a good job until they become victims of crime.

It seems that confidence in officers drops like a stone the more people come into contact with them.

The research was done for the charity Victim Support. One conclusion is that victims of crime are almost a fifth less likely to feel confident in officers than those who have never called in the police.

More than half the public do not think the police are doing a good job, it is said.

An audit showed that just one in eight crimes is solved but three in five people do not believe the criminal justice system is effective.

Two thirds of the public say victims are failed by the system while eight in 10 say the rights of criminals are protected.

The failures are blamed on “years of neglect and misunderstanding” of victims’ needs, says the charity.

In my eyes, the police need to buck up what they do at the sharp end of their job to get the public solidly on their side.

Officers may be envious of other public services where the reverse is true, said Victim Support. It gave as an example the NHS where people who have been outpatients voice more satisfaction than the public at large.

Talking about crime, it is sad to learn from another survey that one in four parents never allow their children to play outside unsupervised for fear of strangers and the believe that busy streets mean it is too dangerous.

However, more than half of children want to play outside more than they currently do.

Nearly nine out of 10 parents played outside unsupervised themselves when they were children, it is reported.

But of course that was in a different, more innocent age.

That was also the time when neighbourliness was much more common.

These days, according to another bit of research just out, we are a nation of functional acquaintances, using our neighbours for practical purposes rather than sociable.

Of 2,000 people asked, 92 per cent said they know some of their neighbours but only 12 per cent consider them friends.

Nearly one in three people have lent their neighbours something (that reminds me, I must return the pickaxe which has languished in my shed for a year or so), 16 per cent have fed their neighbour’s pets or watered their plants and 12 per cent keep a neighbour’s spare keys.

But very few have done something more sociable such as a barbecue (11 per cent) or a Christmas drink (six per cent) with their neighbours.

Draw the curtains, love, it looks like the neighbours may be thinking of coming over.