Number of police on beat hits record high

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IN line with national figures, there has been an increase in the number of police officers pounding Lothian and Borders streets in the past year.

Statistics released last week showed that police numbers in Scotland have reached 17,436, the highest ever recorded level.

The latest quarterly strength statistics show that the number of police officers has increased by 7.4 percent or 1,202 officers between March 31, 2007 and March 31, 2012.

And this is reflected in the region where there are currently 3,000 officers on duty, including 2,844 in force.

This figure is higher than the result for the first quarter of 2011 which was 2,959 and the figure for the final quarter of last year which was 2,970.

The number of officers occupying roles in the Borders is at its highest for two years, with a figure iof 3,007 recorded for the second quarter of 2010.

The highest ever number of officers on duty in the region - 3,009 - was recorded in the first quarter of 2010.

Commenting on the figures, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “I warmly welcome today’s statistics showing the highest ever number of police officers in our communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

“Crime is at a 35 year low at the moment, fear of crime is down, the risk of being a victim of crime in Scotland is falling and is lower than in England and Wales.

“People are feeling safer in their communities and these record police numbers prove that this Government is delivering on its commitments to protect police services and deter crime.

“The figures will obviously fluctuate slightly over time but we are protecting police officer posts and investing in our communities when in England and Wales officer numbers are predicted to decrease by 16,000.

“We are proud of our police and the excellent job they do, that’s why our plans for a new Police Service of Scotland will ensure that frontline policing is protected and our communities kept safe.”