ONE of the advantages of Police Scotland’s reformed stop and search policy is the focus on openness and transparency.

Under the new system, details of all frisks can be accessed at the click of a mouse and judgements can be made about the operation of the policy.

Any citizen, for instance, can find out how many strip searches are being carried out, broken down by age and gender.

Such searches are controversial, but can be justified. If a criminal is hiding drugs or a knife, it will be necessary to remove relevant items of clothing.

Trickier cases involve the strip searching of children and young people. As we reveal today, over 50 have been carried out on individuals aged 17 and under since May.

This practice cannot be banned - children, like adults, may hide drugs underneath their clothes - but police should exercise caution as the procedure will inevitably be humiliating for those involved.

According to the data, nearly 50% of all strip searches on this age group found nothing, a high failure rate that should worry the force.

Voters should be happy that Stephen House’s discredited search system has been scrapped, but there is no room for complacency.

MSPs and the Scottish Police Authority should keep a close eye on whether a search policy designed to protect the public is in fact eroding trust in the police among young people.