THERE are concerns over police stop and search powers and whether they are overused, preventing people going about their legitimate business.

Those concerns are reasonable, but we need to balance that with supporting efforts to keep the streets safe and ensuring those same law abiding people are kept free from harm.

When we see the number and array of weapons seized by the police in the city centre alone it is enough to send a shiver down the spine.

Thousands of searches have uncovered frightening weapons which, if used - and some may well have been in the past - would do unspeakable damage to victims.

Now, it doesn't appear to be the case that the police are stopping every passer-by in the hope they might find a machete in a handbag or samurai sword hidden beneath an anorak.

Rather, the policing operation in the city centre is targeted and intelligence led, and the reduction in violent crime has to be in part down to the approach.

While the powers that the police are afforded must always be used wisely and sensitively, we must remember why they are sometimes needed in the first place, which is to stop a serious crime before it can be committed.