The number of police officers in Scotland is at a record high according to figures released today....

Figures show that there were 17,409 police officers in Scotland (as at end March 2010), 1,175 more than there were in March 2007.

This represents an increase of 136 police officers during the past quarter and 361 more officers in the past year. The increase means that the Scottish Government's pledge to deliver 1,000 additional officers continues to be delivered.

The figures also revealed that the number of officers employed in the Lothian and Borders Police force has exceeded 3,000 for the first time.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the figures by saying:

"The Scottish Government pledged to deliver a more visible police presence in our communities which is why we committed ourselves to increasing the number of police officers by 1,000 by the end of this Parliament. We are continuing to deliver on that commitment with a record 17,409 police officers on Scotland's streets, making our communities safer places to live and work. Sustaining that achievement demonstrates this Government's commitment to providing a well resourced police service.

"I wish to congratulate our Chief Constables for redeploying officers and delivering more police on our streets. The Scottish Police College is also vital in delivering this record number of trainees during the past year and its excellent work has ensured new police recruits have the skills and training to serve as excellent officers in Scotland's police service."

Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker called for an independent forecast of police numbers, adding: "Kenny MacAskill keeps boasting about police numbers, but, as we have continually warned, it's no good increasing numbers unless those numbers are maintained.

"The SNP have cut support staff by over 1,000, meaning fewer cops on the beat."

Comments last month by Grampian Police Chief Constable Colin McKerracher led to Mr MacAskill making a statement to parliament explaining that funding for extra police was ring fenced.

Up to March 31, 2010, the Scottish Government has provided funding for an extra 801 police officers. This funding will continue in 2010-11 along with funding for the recruitment, training and salaries of a further 201 additional officers to be recruited during this year.

The Scottish Government is providing record levels of funding for police services and the levels of recorded crime are at a near 30-year low.

Police Grant paid directly to Police Authorities from the Scottish Government will increase by 3.1 per cent in 2010-11 after taking into account the Scottish Government taking on responsibility for funding police pensions in April 2010.


# Alibi 2010-06-01 12:01
This Richard Baker chap never seems to have anything positive to say. I he spotted a tenner lying in the street, he'd probably complain that he might hurt his back if he bent down to pick it up.
# Mac 2010-06-01 12:22
Liberal Democrats, Robert Brown said: "It is still not clear how much Kenny MacAskill has tried to gerrymander these figures ahead of an election"

That's rich from a party where two of its own MPs, David Laws and Danny Alexander, were caught fiddling their own expenses.

The challenge for the next Scottish government is to maintain these numbers after the Scottish budget is cut by Danny Alexander, a LibDem, a former PR man, and now Chief of the benefit cheats at Westminster.
# robbie 2010-06-01 12:46
Richard Baker is just a silly wee labour pips squeak, he actualy thinks his roll in politics is to jump up and down and bad mouth every SNP achievement.

Best to ignore his infantile behaviour.
# RTP 2010-06-01 14:13
Here is a funny,Alec Salmond says that Labour will win the next Scottish elections,up jumps our Richard Baker no they won't Salmond is telling an untruth again,Salmond no Richard did you not listen to what I said poor Richard but,but,eh I,I forget it Baker we all know you are still just out of Nursery.What a sill little man he is.
# spagan 2010-06-01 14:27
Have agree about "MasterBaker" - was he a character on Captain Pugwash? Perhaps I'm thinking of Cabin Boy Clegg? Or was he a Muppet?
Good news on the Police front. Well done Kenny. If he can crack "fast n firm" Community Payback, then he'll have been the most successful Justice Minister across the UK.
With New Labour's ConDem cuts coming via the Fragrant Danny next year I think we need a very radical reorganisation of the Police.
The new national crime campus will be operational soon - just the right time to create a Scottish "FBI" - fit to fight serious, organised 21st Century crime. We need the cleverest cops beating the cleverest criminals.
All other crime is low-level and anti-social in the main - from parking to speeding to litter to vandalism, breach of the peace, theft and assault.
For these kinds of crime we need a police presence - but not a hierarchy of management.
Most communities should have an identified Inspector who directly manages a couple of Sergeants, loads of PCs depending on the area - and appropriate support staff.
For this low level crime, there is no need for Chief Inspectors or Superintendents - let alone Chief Supers, Assistant CCs, Depute CCs and Big Chief Constables.
Slainte Mhor
# Somerled 2010-06-01 14:53
I seem to recall that an increase in Police recruitment in Scotland was part of a deal done between the SNP and the Conservatives, negotiated by Ms.Goldie.
These figures are very welcome.
# Sannymac 2010-06-02 20:12
Why do the Labour Party not praise such news. They were quick to condemn the SNP before they had had time to make any effect and they continue to do so.
Somerled: Yes there was an agreement between the SNP and Ms Goldie; that is the normal procedure in a minority run government.

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