Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill today welcomed figures showing a Scottish Government pledge to recruit more than 1,000 new police officers continues to be delivered ahead of target.
The latest Police Officer Quarterly Strength Statistics showed there were 17,371 police officers in Scotland on 30 September 2010, an increase of 153 in the past year and up 1,137 since March 2007.
The figures came as Scotland’s biggest force – Strathclyde – confirmed it was to begin the appointment process for around 100 new recruits whose applications had been suspended earlier this year.
This, coupled with confirmation that Central Police is seeking new recruits and Northern Police are now working through existing applications, means the Scottish Government’s pledge to deliver an additional 1,000 police officers remains on track.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“We remain absolutely committed to protecting frontline policing services, and I am delighted that a key part of that commitment continues to be met, despite uncertainty caused by the unprecedented cuts to Scotland’s overall budget.
“The Scottish Government pledged to deliver 1,000 additional police officers by the end of this Parliament and this promise remains firmly on track with 17,371 officers now helping to make Scotland’s communities safer and drive recorded crime down to a 32 year low.
“The news that Strathclyde is to restart the recruitment process for around 100 new officers is very welcome, and comes after Central and Northern Police restarted their own appointment procedure. I anticipate other forces being able join them in the new year.
“Our efforts will be helped by the recent budget agreement struck with Cosla and recommended to individual councils, which includes a provision for additional police numbers to be sustained. This, and the work now underway in all forces across Scotland to identify efficiencies, will ensure that local authorities can protect officer numbers.”