Police Scotland officer numbers dip over a year

Police Scotland. Picture: John Devlin.
Police Scotland. Picture: John Devlin.
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Police Scotland needs to maintain its capacity, the Justice Secretary said as new figures showed a slight dip in officer numbers.

Scottish Government statistics show there were the equivalent of 17,256 full-time police officers in Scotland on December 31, a drop of seven from the same date in 2015.

The numbers have increased 1,022 from 16,234 when the SNP came to power in 2007.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Police Scotland continue to maintain a strong, effective presence in local communities, with officers, specialists and other civilian support staff working day and night to keep people safe.

“With police having contributed to a reduction in recorded crime to its lowest level since 1974 and clear-up rates at a 40-year high, public confidence in Scottish policing remains strong.

“However, as criminal activity evolves and the service increasingly responds to meet the changing demands of society, it needs to maintain its capacity, across its workforce and other resources, to meet emerging challenges.

“That is why we have protected Police Scotland’s resource budget for each year of this Parliament, delivering a £100 million boost by 2021. In addition to £55 million for reforms over the past year, we recently announced an enhanced allocation of £61 million reform funding for 2017-18, to help with the next phase of its transformation.

“This will enable Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to progress their 2026 strategy, giving the chief constable greater flexibility to ensure Scotland continues to benefit from a modern and responsive police service that is fit for the future.”