>> 1 March 2011

SNP North East MSP Maureen Watt has welcomed the confirmation that the Scottish Government has delivered upon its pledge to recruit 1,000 additional police officers over the lifetime of the parliament in order to make Scotland’s communities safer. Figures released today show that there will be 17,270 police officers on Scotland’s streets at the end of March, 1,036 more than the SNP inherited when it came to office.

Crime in Scotland is at a 32 year low, in no small part because of increased police numbers. There has been a 20% reduction in violent crime, meaning 3,000 fewer violent offences, and knife crime has also been falling.

Commenting Ms Watt said:

“Throughout the last four years the opposition parties have doubted and scaremongered about the SNP’s ability to deliver on our pledge of recruiting 1,000 additional police officers. These figures show that in the final quarter of this parliamentary term, those officers are in place protecting our communities.

“We reached our police recruitment target well ahead of schedule, despite Labour and Lib Dem claims it would take many more years, and despite the economic climate we have kept numbers above that targeted increase, again despite claims we would not.

“If it had been down to Labour, there would not have been a single extra officer recruited over the last four years. Given comments he has previously made on the subject, I wonder if Richard Baker will now apologise and offer his congratulations to the SNP Government on delivering upon this pledge?

“The fact is that there is no substitute for extra bobbies on the beat, which is why we made it a key priority four years ago. With crime at a 32 year low and communities across the country now safer places to live, it is clear that it was the right thing to do and we will not let up in our efforts in the future.”


1) S3W-39993 - Stewart Maxwell (West of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged Monday, February 28, 2011) To ask the Scottish Executive what it expects police officer numbers to be in the first two quarters of 2011. (S3W-39993)

Kenny MacAskill: Our projections are that there will be 17,270 police officers (full-time equivalent) on 31 March 2011 and 17,292 on 30 June 2011 - 1,036 and 1,058 respectively above the baseline figure of 16,234 at 31 March 2007.

2) Richard Baker on March 2011 police numbers (‘Herald’ 19 March 2009) Mr Baker said: “It's time that Kenny MacAskill made his mind up. He now says there will be 17,275 officers by March 2011 and I certainly hope that's true. That's what the SNP promised to deliver and that's what they'll get judged on.”

3) Mike Rumbles on police numbers (‘Press and Journal’ 03 December 2008) Mr Rumbles said: “At the current rate of recruitment, the SNP will never reach their target of 1,000 additional officers by 2011.”

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