SNP hails police office numbers

The number of extra police officers in Scotland continues to exceed the SNP's commitment of 1,000, figures show.

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The latest quarterly statistics reveal there were 17,318 police officers on June 30, 2014, an increase of 6.7% or 1,084 officers since March 31, 2007.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "Recorded crime in Scotland is at an almost 40-year low and these high police officer numbers provide a strong, visible police presence to keep our communities safe.

"I am proud that we have continued to keep our commitment for 1,000 additional officers working across Scotland during every quarter of this administration.

"This is in stark contrast to the situation in England and Wales where officer numbers have fallen by more than 14,000 since March 2007 and are now at their lowest levels since 2001.

"We have always said that police numbers will fluctuate and planning for major events such as the Commonwealth Games is one reason for that, however this publication shows that we continue to exceed the target and keep our promise to protect police officer numbers at these levels. Alongside Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, we are strongly committed to delivering 1,000 extra officers.

"The creation of Police Scotland and the SPA 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."

Police Scotland has also released a divisional breakdown of the rise, showing that officer numbers increased in every part of Scotland in the first three months of 2014.

Argyll and West Dunbartonshire division saw the biggest rise of 52 officers (1.8%), from 2,935 to 2,987, while Highlands and Islands division gained one extra officer - rising to a total of 2,580.

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