MORE than 200 people applied to be Police Community Support Officers after Wiltshire Police opened recruitment two weeks ago.

The force launched a recruitment campaign for up to 30 new PCSOs 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 in Wiltshire with the target number set at 139.

Scores of hopefuls will now go through rigorous assessment and vetting procedures to make sure they are suitable for the roles, which involve supporting regular police officers on the front line in communities across Swindon and Wiltshire.

There will be an intake of 15 PCSOs in July and a further 15 in October but a police spokesman was unable to confirm whether the process will be re-opened for applications a second time.

She said: “There was a huge response on social media and many of our hits came from Facebook and Twitter. We are hoping the first new intake will start in July and the next one will be in October.

“With 220 applications we should be able to fill the 30 roles available but it depends on the suitability of the candidates and I cannot say at this stage whether we will need to reopen the process to the public.”