There is still much "debate" around police stop search.

Now we are getting close to an election I fear there is a real danger we will all miss the point: how to keep youngsters and others safe and out of trouble.

First up, stop search really does have its uses. It is a legitimate and effective policing response to a range of crimes.

It has been a factor - though not the only factor - in the reduction in knife-carrying and violence.

Our communities are safer. It was more than just policing that helped make this happen. It was education and housing as well as the heroic efforts of youth workers, mentors, community workers and the communities themselves.

So now I believe the time has come to police a little differently - with fewer stop searches.

After all, when the medicine works and the patient's condition stabilises, we don't usually increase the dosage. That makes the patient worse.

No, now is the time for all agencies, including the police, to engage with young people in our poorest areas.

They got by far the largest doses of the stop search medicine.

And they have shown most improvement on this course of treatment.

Now they need help to stay healthy and violence-free. Good community policing can help that happen.

More of the same is the easy thing to do. These young men are unlikely to complain and unlikely to vote. The rest of us think we are not really affected by what happens to them so we don't really care, do we?

The clever thing to do now is build in some resistance so they don't catch the violence virus again by helping them get a better education, employment, to get healthier and stay healthier and stay safe.

Is this not the point?

The stop-search row misses this. Among the confusion about consensual searches, targets or no targets, accuracy of information and what the chief constable volunteered to do - or was compelled to - we somehow forgot about this really important issue.

The Police want new powers to search for alcohol.

On the face of it, this seems to be a great idea.

Alcohol is cited as a contributory factor in 76 per cent of all assaults, 72 per cent of all domestic abuse incidents, and half of all murders.

But I smell hypocrisy on alcohol. Most of us have it at home; it is sold in thousands of shops. You can even buy alcohol at petrol stations.

Yes, this product is licensed, but it is not illegal.

The alcohol industry is taking the Scottish Government to the European Court. They believe helping reduce the damage that alcohol abuse does will affect their profits.

Professional sport everywhere relies on advertising revenue from alcohol companies. Some even want to make it even more available at football matches.

Are we really suggesting children wearing sports tops of their favourite teams with alcohol logos all over them will be now stopped by the Police for having alcohol in a bag?

I'm not sure what's worse: our collective hypocrisy or that we expect the police to counter the effects of alcohol misuse by alienating the children in our poorest areas.

There are other ways.

Licensing boards could do a better job. They appear to issue licences to sell alcohol with very little regard to the impact on communities. Some streets have three off-sales. Why?

Of course, these streets are not in Bearsden or Morningside. And, strangely, the kids in these areas don't get stopped and searched very often either.

Why not police off-sales? It might be a better use of resources to have a council enforcement officer on duty outside every off-sales than search hundreds of youngsters.

Or how about taking the licences off any shop which sells to children?

Maybe we should try stronger penalties for adults who buy drink for children?

My final no-cost suggestion? We adults should start to show children a better example. I know for certain that will work.