Police officers on the beat are seen less often in Ayrshire

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Ayrshire residents want more police on the beat in their communities according to data in the recently published Scottish Crime and Justice Survey.

Across Scotland 5,475 people completed the survey, 57% of them saying that the police are doing a good or excellent job in their local area in 2017/18, unchanged since 2016/17 but down from 61% in 2012/13.

The proportion of adults aware of the police regularly patrolling their area has fallen from 56% in 2012/13 to 40% in 2017/18, and the majority of residents say there are not enough police officers on the beat.

The survey found that 56.7 per cent of people believe policing is short in Ayrshire - the national average is 49.7 per cent.

The survey asked Ayrshire people if police officers patrol on foot - and only 11.7 per cent said yes. This figure has more than halved in the last five years. Nearly 10 per cent said they had seen police bicycle patrols in their area, and 33.3 per cent by car, while 53 per cent said they felt the police did not patrol their area regularly.

Recorded crime in Ayrshire has gone down by more than a third in the last decade according to the survey statistics.

The views of local people about the number of police officers on patrol were echoed at the recent Scottish Police Federation annual conference held at Turnberry when it was accepted that while people generally feel safer in their communities there is concern that there are just not enough police officers on the front line.