Fall in number of police officers in Scotland
THE number of police officers in Scotland has fallen in recent months, figures revealed today.
There were a total of 17,217 officers at the end of September, 61 fewer than in the previous quarter.
The latest figure is still 691 more than a year ago and 983 more than when the SNP came to power.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "We are well on track to deliver an increase in police numbers of 1,000 over the lifetime of this Parliament, and are well ahead of where our own police force projection study said we would be at this stage.
"With a year-and-a-half to go, this quarter's figures are just 17 officers short of our target for 2011, and the underlying trend is clearly very strongly upwards."
He said the latest quarterly figures also showed that 271 new officers had been trained at the Scottish Police College.
"We have always expected some fluctuation in numbers because of the large number of currently serving officers approaching 30 years' service," Mr MacAskill added.
But Labour described the fall as a "serious blow" for the Justice Secretary.
The party's Richard Baker said: "Only a few months ago Kenny MacAskill boasted the Scottish Government had reached their target of 1,000 extra police early.
"Those boasts seem hollow today.
"These figures show police numbers are declining and have fallen back below the number promised by the SNP at the election."
Mr Baker went on: "Whatever happens over the next few months on police numbers, the predictions from police forces and local authorities are clear – the current funding allocations from the Scottish Government will mean that police numbers will not be able to be maintained in the long term."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West