The number of police officers in Ayrshire has fallen with the force citing the need to make hundreds of millions in savings.

In the last quarter, the number of divisional officers in Ayrshire fell from 862 to 831.

When Scotland’s eight regional police forces merged to form Police Scotland in 2013, Ayrshire had 862 officers.

Since then, there are 32 fewer frontline cops in the local force.

Police Scotland is considering moving officers out of their rundown Ayr station in King Street.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The creation of a single national service has helped to maintain responsive and visible local policing in our communities while policing is asked to deliver around £200m of annual savings compared to legacy arrangements. At the same time, policing has transformed how we respond to serious crime and major incidents and local policing is supported by a number of national capabilities, ensuring every community in Scotland has access to the complete range of policing services required to keep everyone safe.

“The frontline of policing goes beyond uniformed officers on the street that the public will see every day.

“The frontline includes our officers working in less visible, but equally vital, areas which protect the public from harm, such as preventing and investigating serious and organised crime, cybercrime and the abuse of children and vulnerable people.”

A spokesperson for the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, said: “We have increased the policing budget by £60 million this year - £10 million more than what Tories had initially asked for, taking our annual investment in policing to more than £1.2 billion.

“We are incredibly grateful for the hard work of Scotland’s police throughout the pandemic, and the professionalism they have shown.”