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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 13:29 GMT
Police recruit 150 new officers
New recruit
New officers are trained at the Tulliallan police college
Police have recruited 150 of the 1,000 new officers promised by ministers, the Scottish Government has said.

A total of 106 have nearly completed their training and a further 44 have recently started at the Tulliallan Police College.

The figures were announced as Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill visited the college.

He said the figures were "proof positive" the government was meeting its pledge to boost police numbers.

The SNP originally committed to 1,000 extra police in last year's election campaign.

The administration later said this would be achieved by recruiting 500 and using retention and redeployment to take the total up to 1,000.

In pre-budget negotiations ministers bowed to Tory demands and said 1,000 extra would be recruited by March 2001.

The additional cost will be 10m in the coming year, 13m in the second year, and 17m in the third year.

'Bare minimum'

With 150 already recruited, 450 are to be taken on in the coming financial year, 200 in 2009-10, and 200 in 2010-11.

Mr MacAskill said: "We are working with chief constables and police boards to improve the retention of officers and support the redeployment of officers to enhance operational policing."

In response to the news, the Tories justice spokesman, Bill Aitken, accused the SNP of having "no intention" of boosting numbers to such a level until forced to by the Conservatives.

He said: "That shouldn't deflect from the fact that the right course has been taken.

"It is tempting to point out that, far from delivering the much needed improvements, 1,000 additional police over the next three years might be the bare minimum required to deal with all the repeat offenders and criminals the SNP is determined to set free from jail."

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