Wiltshire Police has launched a recruitment campaign for up to 30 new Community Support Officers after numbers dwindled below the force’s minimum level.
It is the first time since 2011 that the force has recruited PCSOs.
There are a total of 132 PCSOs in Wiltshire with the target number set at 139.
The force says that with many set to become regular officers in the near future, it wants to recruit 15 in July and 15 more in October to the £19,311 a year role on a par with the salary for constables.
Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: “I am delighted that we are in a position to recruit.
“PCSOs provide essential support and make a real difference to local communities.”
But Wiltshire Police Federation chairman Mike White was more cautious.
He said: “It’s a difficult one. The public’s view is they would rather have fully warranted offficers and I would rather they were police officers for more flexibility.
“That is not to take away from the fantastic work PCSOs do and while they are police staff they are part of the same team and support neighbourhood teams well.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “We are particularly encouraging applications from minority ethnic communities, as they are presently under-represented.”
The role involves providing a visible patrolling presence and acting as a crime deterrent, especially with regard to anti-social behaviour.
PCSOs do not have the same powers as a police officer and duties do not include arrests, investigating serious crimes or covert operations.
Applications opened on Friday and the closing date is Tuesday at 5pm.
The force asks for previous experience of dealing with the public, good health and a full driving licence.
There are no minimum or maximum height requirements, formal educational requirement and convictions will mean a definite or likely rejection of the application.
More details at www.wiltshire.police.uk or via email at email@example.com or call 01380 734132.
Officer is ‘eyes and ears’ of the force
PCSO James Bates has served Trowbridge for three years and believes that his role is the “eyes and the ears of policing”.
PCSO Bates, 26, worked previously as sports manager at Center Parcs in Warminster.
He said: “I wanted to be a PCSO for the challenge. It is different to any other job and you do something different every day.
“It is all about building up a relationship with the community. They know who I am and they can come to me for anything.
“PCSOs are seen as the first point of contact within the police.There is no PC-PCSO split. We all work together in one office. They realise how much information we get from our community. We are often described as the ears and eyes of policing.
“You also have to be energetic because a lot of the time you are on foot patrol.”