Labour has accused SNP ministers of storing up job cuts in the police service until after the referendum.

The accusation came as official figures showed that Police Scotland fulfilled the SNP's commitment to maintain 1000 extra police officers despite a slight drop last quarter.

There were 17,324 full-time equivalent officers on June 30, up 1090 since the SNP began its first term in government in 2007.

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Officer numbers have dropped by 172 (-1.0%) since March 30 and by 49 (-0.3%) since June 30 last year.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "These statistics show our target to ensure 1000 extra police officers is continuing to be met, and exceeded, and that is welcome news for our communities. Our additional officers are keeping our streets safe and have helped reduce recorded crime to its lowest level for 39 years."

But Scottish Labour's Graeme Pearson MSP, said: "Despite the rhetoric from Kenny MacAskill, many of Scotland's officers are sitting behind desks.

"Chief Constable House has warned that there will be more job cuts to come. You don't need to be a cynic to know that the bulk of these cuts will happen after the referendum next year. The SNP's priority is to delay the consequences of their budget choices until that vote is out of the way. Scotland deserves better."