The latest police officer figures reveal that police officer numbers in Scotland have risen by 938 full-time equivalent (FTE) officers since 2007; an increase of 5.8% since the SNP came to office.
As of 30 June 2018, there are 17,172 FTE police officers in Scotland.
Ayrshire division has 3,738 police officers available to serve, including 834 locally who undertake community, response and divisional road policing. This represents an increase of 3 FTE local officers from the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, in England and Wales there are currently 122,404 FTE police officers, compared to 141,826 in 2007; a drop of 19,422 officers, or 13%.
In addition, a recent Sunday Times investigation revealed that more than 7,000 neighbourhood police officers in England and Wales - almost a third - have left the force or been assigned to other duties since March 2015, while the number of police community support officers has also fallen by 18%.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Police officer numbers have a tangible impact not only on how safe we feel, but also the number of offences committed and cases solved.
“Tragically, knife crime stands at a record high under the Tories in England and Labour in Wales, with 40,147 offences committed in 2017/18, a 56.9% increase since official recording began in 2014. Latest figures also show that 91% of crimes committed in England and Wales result in no summons or charge.
“In stark contrast, Scotland has been remarkably successful in knife crime prevention, with the number of people carrying knives having plummeted by 69% since 2007. In North Ayrshire, the fall has been even more heartening at 77%.
“Scotland records solved crime differently from England and Wales. Here, a crime is regarded as ‘cleared up’ where there is a sufficiency of evidence to justify criminal proceedings. The 2017/18 clear-up rate of 50.1% demonstrates that while still more can be done, our police force is better equipped not only to prevent crime, but detect and solve it.”