One thousand new police recruits in the West Midlands will have to wait even longer for a job as the force's recruitment freeze, put in place in June, is extended by another year.
Many of the would-be-policemen and women - 700 of whom have passed all parts of their training assessments - have already been waiting for between 18 months and two years. Some recruits claim to have been waiting for even longer - up to three years.
West Midlands Police spokesman Mark Payne said: "Due to the reduced levels of recruitment within the police service, linked to the well publicised changes in public sector finances announced recently, West Midlands Police has had to review its programme of recruitment intakes.
"As a result, we anticipate no further recruitment activity for at least this financial year."
One recruit, who did not wish to be named, said he had completed all parts of the assessment and had been waiting for a job for nearly three years - and said recruits had been told they may have to wait another 18 months.
"We have had five 'recruitment seminars' so far explaining the current situation with West Midlands Police and where recruitment is standing," he said.
"They said that with Programme Paragon, and low levels of officers retiring, there just aren't any vacancies.
"They had said they would be taking on 200 new officers at the start of this financial year but that hasn't happened. Some people are starting to lose hope," he added.
The news comes after the Express & Star revealed the force has spent £150,000 putting new recruits through the application and assessment centre process in the past year.
Programme Paragon is a restructuring programme which has transformed the operational running of West Midlands Police.
Twenty-one area command units have been replaced by 10 local policing units.
The changes have seen the four Black Country boroughs each being policed by one local policing unit, instead of two.
By Charlotte Cross