There is not enough evidence to support a new power for police to search young people for alcohol, the Scottish Government announced today.

Responses to the consultation from 130 individuals and organisations, and conversations with young people with experience of being searched, led to today's decision.

However, more evidence will be gathered for 12 months after a new "stop and search" code of practice comes into force next year, before the policy will be reviewed again.

A separate consultation on the new code found widespread support to extend it to specifically cover practice relating to children, adults at risk and vulnerable adults, and this will be taken forward.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson commented: “We know stop and search can be a valuable tool on combating crime, but it is important that we get the balance right between protecting the public and the rights of individuals.

“Maintaining trust between the police and the public is an important part of finding that balance and we have been listening to people’s views, including young people, about when and how stop and search should be used."

He added: “We welcome the range of views provided, particularly over the issue of powers to search for alcohol. We want to make the right decision, which is why we will gather more evidence while the code of practice is in place before considering the issue further.”

John Scott QC, chair of the Advisory Group on Stop and Search, said: “This consultation exercise provides a new benchmark for consultation exercises involving and affecting children and young people. With the considerable assistance of individuals, groups and networks, we now have a much clearer idea of the impact of police activity, both positive and negative, on some of our younger citizens."

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams added: "Police Scotland welcomes this approach as this will allow proper assessment to be made using evidence gathered under the new working arrangements, once the code of practice and associated legislation comes into effect."