THE number of police officers in Scotland has reached an all-time high at nearly 17,500, it emerged today.
A total of 17,496 officers were employed at the end of March official figures have shown, coinciding with the creation of the new national force Police Scotland.
The latest figures are 1,262 up on 2007 when the SNP Government came to power with a flagship pledge to raise officer numbers by 1,000.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said today: “This visible police presence has contributed to reducing the recorded crime rate to its lowest level for 37 years.
“We have pledged to protect police posts and frontline police services, and although the numbers above the target will fluctuate over time, we will keep our 1,000 extra police officer promise.
“This is in direct contrast to the picture in England and Wales where police numbers have fallen to their lowest level since 2002 and are expected to drop by 16,000 in total.”
He added: “I know Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority will continue to deliver excellent policing and build on the high public confidence communities have in our police service in Scotland.”