Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed new figures showing a seven per cent increase in police officers from 2007 and a 35-year record low in recorded crime in Scotland.
The latest Police Officer Quarterly Strength Statistics show that there were 17,343 police officers in Scotland at the end of last year. Police officer numbers have increased by 78 full-time officers in the last quarter from 30 September 2011 and leaped by 126 officers from the end of 2010.
Linda has welcomed the news and hopes neighbouring countries – including England and Wales – can learn from Scotland’s example.
She said “This is great news for the people of Scotland and shows that the Scottish Government is totally committed to keeping our communities safer and tackling crime through having more police on our streets.
“Fewer people in communities up and down Scotland are now likely to become victims of crime and re offending rates are at an 11 year low.
“However we must never be complacent when it come to knife crime as the consequences for those who are victims of such crimes are so tragic.
“Last year’s figures show there was an 11% reduction in crimes involving offensive weapons, a fall by more than a third since 2006-07. Crimes of handling offensive weapons are the lowest in a decade and sentences for knife carrying are the longest in a decade. The number of stop and searches has increased and has meant fewer people carrying knives through fear of being caught.
“Automatic mandatory minimum sentences for knife possession are not the answer, and are not supported by most senior police officers and judges who are at the forefront of dealing with knife offenders
“The tried and tested ‘No Knives, Better Lives’ scheme has now been introduced to South Lanarkshire. This innovative youth engagement campaign has seen a 35% reduction in knife carrying in the Inverclyde pilot area (June 09-Oct 2010) and a 29% reduction in Renfrewshire (April 2010-Jan 2011).”