Police Scotland has continued the SNP's pledge to maintain 1,000 extra officers - despite shedding 178 in the last year, according to official figures.

There were 1,024 more officers in Scotland at December 31 2013 than the SNP inherited in 2007, figures published by Scotland's chief statistician show.

The 17,258 full-time equivalent (FTE) officers is an increase of 6.3% from March 31 2007.

Numbers have decreased by 56 in the last quarter and 178 since December 31 2012, a drop of 1%.

The pledge to maintain at least 1,000 additional officers was a key part of the SNP's last two election manifestos.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "This Government is continuing to deliver on our commitment to keep over 1,000 extra officers to keep our streets safe and contribute to an almost 40-year low in recorded crime.

"The creation of Police Scotland has allowed local policing to prosper, with officers dedicated solely to local policing in each division supported by specialist services and the ability to allocate additional police officers in every area where and when they are needed.

"The number of additional police numbers is now moving towards 1,000, keeping costs down while continuing to exceed our target.

"This contrasts with the position in England and Wales where officer numbers are now at their lowest level in 11 years and expected to drop by more than 15,000 in total."