Scots police officer numbers fall - but SNP defends its "ambitious" record

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Police officer numbers have seen a slight fall in Scotland - but the SNP insists it's record on policing outstrips England and Wales.

There were 17,256 police officers in Scotland at the end of September - down by three over the previous three months.

It comes as police representatives in Scotland warn of a funding crisis Police Scotland, while Boris Johnson pledges to increase police numbers by 20,000 in England and Wales.

But the SNP insisted that numbers are up across Scotland since the party came to power at Holyrood 13 years ago.

Officer numbers have increased by 108 in the last year, which marks an increase of 1,022 since 2007, the figures today show.

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SNP Justice spokesperson Joanna Cherry said the Prime Minister would need to increase police numbers by 27,000 south of the border to match the relative increase in Scotland.

Ms Cherry said: "His promise to boost police numbers is still more than 7,000 short of matching the SNP’s record in Scotland.

“The Tories need to catch up on the ambitious work of the SNP in Scotland which has resulted in historic lows of recorded crime under the SNP’s watch. The SNP has delivered significantly more police officers per 10,000 population than the Tories have presided over in England and Wales."

Calum Steele of the Scottish Police Federation warned last month that the Police Scotland's funding deficit was so chronic that officers may not be paid next year. This was dismissed by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.