Police officer numbers in Scotland rise

Police numbers have risen. Picture: PA
Police numbers have risen. Picture: PA
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Police numbers in Scotland have increased slightly, new figures show.

The number of Police Scotland's full-time equivalent officers has risen by eight in the last three months and is up by 87 on the previous year.

The SNP has compared the situation with England and Wales, where they claim "police numbers have been decimated".

Since 2007, when the SNP came to power, police numbers have increased by 1,025 to the latest figure of 17,259 full-time officers, recorded in June 2019.

The SNP has argued policing figures show "a clear tale of two governments" since the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats went into coalition in 2010.

The most recent comparable figures, from the end of March, show police officer numbers in Scotland have increased by 6.3% since 2007, compared to a 13.3% drop in England and Wales.

SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: "These welcome new figures show that the SNP Government continues to deliver more police on our streets, contributing to a drop of 42% in recorded crime since it came to power.

"In stark contrast, police numbers have been decimated under the Tories.

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"They're at their lowest levels since the 1970s with services hammered to the tune of 20,000 officers."

She added: "Boris Johnson's U-turn on police numbers in England and Wales is long overdue but his record on broken promises speaks for itself.

"His own ministers have even questioned the logistics of his flagship plans.

"And if implemented, his commitments will only partially reverse the cuts the Tories have already made and it won't undo the damage done through years of starving the police of vital funding.

"This is a clear tale of two governments - a Scottish Government supporting our police to make our streets safer and a new Prime Minister hell-bent on leaving the EU, ideologically obsessed with austerity and ready to deliver untold damage to public services across the UK."

Commenting on the impact of Brexit on policing, Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said: "Police Scotland continues to develop and deploy its workforce to meet the needs of communities, helping keep people safe and crime down, while also preparing for the impact of Brexit, particularly the disastrous prospect of exiting the EU without an agreement with our European partners.

READ MORE: Police Scotland 'has sometimes not met expectations'

"While decisions about contingency planning, as well as the optimal mix of officers, civilian specialists and other staff are operational decisions for the Chief Constable, officer numbers in Scotland remain significantly above those in 2007 - in contrast to the reduction of around 19,000 officers in England and Wales.

"We remain committed to protecting the police revenue budget in real terms in every year of this Parliament, delivering an additional £100 million over that period, with the funding we provide for policing now standing at more than £1.2 billion annually.

"We will continue to press the UK Government to pay back the £125 million VAT paid by Police Scotland before the Treasury reversed this unfair policy in 2018.

"We have also been clear that any costs related to EU exit should not have a detrimental impact on Scotland's public finances and should be met by the UK Government in full."