Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 12:45 UK

Police numbers at 'record' high

Police officers
The SNP said it was on target to recruit an extra 1,000 officers

The number of police in Scotland has reached a "record high", according to the Scottish Government.

There were 16,339 police officers in Scotland at the end of June, an increase of 118 on the first quarter of 2008.

It was a rise of 74 on the figure in June last year, just after the SNP formed its government.

The government welcomed the figures. The SNP had made a commitment to introduce 1,000 extra officers by 2011.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "We inherited the lowest recruitment since devolution, with many officers due to retire.

"We've tackled that challenge head on, and although these latest figures are reassuring, there remains much work to be done.

"But we are confident that the resources and policies now in place will deliver improved policing for Scotland."

Mr MacAskill added that 150 officers were recruited and paid for by the Scottish Government last year, with another 450 to be funded by ministers this year over and above individual forces' recruitment plans.

The Conservatives justice spokesman Bill Aitken called the figures a "step in the right direction".

He added: "But without Scottish Conservative pressure and insistence there would be no prospect of 1,000 more police, no new national drugs strategy and no accelerated tax cuts for Scotland's smallest businesses."

A row over a fall in police numbers broke out in May this year.

SEE ALSO
Row over Scottish police numbers
20 May 08 |  Scotland
Police recruit 150 new officers
10 Mar 08 |  Tayside and Central
Chiefs cut for frontline officers
14 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Policing resources 'inadequate'
24 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Expert casts doubt on police plan
27 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Call to increase police spending
17 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Retaining police 'not effective'
23 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Funds to recruit 500 new officers
12 Nov 07 |  Scotland

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