Police officer numbers in Scotland have reached their highest level for seven years, new figures have revealed.
Official figures show Scotland had the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 17,431 officers at the end of March.
That is a rise of 172 FTE officers from the end of 2019 and is the highest number since the first quarter of 2013 – when there were 17,496.
The force now has its largest number of officers since it was formed on April 1, 2013, by the merger of regional police forces in Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “While the detailed balance of officers, civilian specialists and other police staff is an operational matter for the chief constable, Scotland has significantly more officers than at any time before 2007 – while over the same period numbers in England and Wales were cut by up to 20,000.
“Our investment in policing this year has increased 5.1% to more than £1.2bn.
“Ministers have made clear since Police Scotland and the SPA published their 2026 strategy, we expect officer numbers to remain significantly above the level inherited in 2007,” the spokesman added.