Driving up Hythe Bridge Street late tonight, I passed a pair of policemen. A little further along, I came across another pair.
Usually, when you see the forces of law and order in such quantities these days, it is because of an incident. There was no evidence that there was any trouble. The obvious conclusion is that the very presence of the police was preventing trouble.
That is not, of course, necessarily the right analysis. Perhaps the yobbery went to visit their mothers tonight, or had gone to fight and vomit somewhere else. Perhaps Mr Plod reckons that his fight with the Home Secretary over pay will gather more public support if the public actually sees him earning it.
Nevertheless, there was something very comforting about seeing the police in a calm preventative role. Or perhaps it is just so rare to see policemen on the beat that it attracts attention, like seeing a Routemaster or a steam locomotive, a reminder of how things used to be.