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Police numbers in Scotland at a record high

The number of police officers has reached a record high, according to official figures.

As of the end of September, Scotland has the equivalent of 17,454 full-time officers, 81 more than in June and 1,220 more than in March 2007; maintaining the SNP's pledge on officer numbers.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the number of officers may fluctuate from time to time but that the move to a single police force would help "maintain the visible police presence".

This is in "direct contrast" to England and Wales where police numbers are falling.

"Police numbers have increased again this quarter and are now at an all-time high. There's now a record number of police in our communities, helping to keep our recorded crime rate at its lowest level for 37 years and the crime clear-up rate at its highest level in over 30 years," Mr MacAskill said.

"Meanwhile violent crime is at a 30-year low, crimes of handling offensive weapons are down to the lowest level in over a decade and Scots are feeling safer in their streets and communities."

"We know that police numbers will always rise and fall over time due to officers leaving or retiring and new recruits joining the service.

"Today's figures go well beyond our commitment to 1,000 extra officers, that is to be welcomed, but there should be no surprise if the figures continue to fluctuate in the future.

"We have kept our commitment to ensure there are 1,000 extra officers in communities across Scotland and we will continue to protect frontline policing. This is in direct contrast to UK Government plans which will see the loss of an estimated 16,000 policing posts in England and Wales.

"This will not happen in the Police Service of Scotland. Our plans for reform will maintain the visible police presence and our excellent policing record that Scotland currently enjoys for generations to come."

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