More than 70 people have applied to become police community support officers in the West Midlands every day during a recruitment drive.
Recruitment for the posts has now closed.
Police bosses said that the rigorous selection process will now begin with a paper sift of more than 1,000 applications to identify the best candidates who will then undertake a series of tests, a fitness and medical assessment before a final interview to secure one of the new jobs.
It is the first time the force has recruited new PCSOs for three years. Those selected will begin a seven-week intensive training programme, followed by a probationary period working on neighbourhood policing teams, alongside PCs, other PCSOs, special officers and partner agencies.
Superintendent Jo Smallwood, who is leading the recruitment drive, said: “We are delighted with the response and the number of applications received. We are looking forward to identifying those who will best serve the communities of the West Midlands.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones pledged his support saying: “PCSOs are an integral part of the local policing team. They increase visibility and increase public confidence in policing.
“Over time, the better intelligence and understanding of crime in the area that PCSOs provided has led to significant crime reduction. This is why I am committed to retaining PCSOs as part of neighbourhood policing and recruiting an additional fifty PCSOs to maintain their strength.”
As part of the recruitment push PSCO Ricky Gambino took to YouTube to tell would-be crime fighters the kind of work they will be involved in.
After 10 years in the force he says: “It’s one of the best jobs I have ever done, it brings me great satisfaction.”
The new PCSOs will cover teams in Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. They are expected to be in post by March 2014.