West Yorkshire Police is to recruit from the general public for the first time in five years after getting approval to raise its share of council tax by 3.6 per cent.
Police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson says the force, which has lost around a fifth of its workforce since 2010, will be recruiting around 300 officers over the next year.
The force has had restrictions in place on open recruitment since 2010, along with many others nationwide, as a result of government cuts that have seen it lose £140 million from its annual budget.
PCSOs and Special Constables have been able to apply to become Police Constables during this period, but now members of the public are able to apply to join the force.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Hundreds more new police officers can now be recruited over the next year into West Yorkshire Police.
“I am pleased to confirm that Special Constables and PCSOs will also continue to have the opportunity to become full-time police officers with ongoing internal recruitment, as well as opening up for wider recruitment amongst the general public.”
Mr Burns-Williamson said the extra funding, generated by the council tax rise, also means Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers will stay at the current level of 565 across West Yorkshire.
He said: “Continuing the recruitment of police officers and protecting PCSOs is crucial for the frontline and safeguarding resources as far as possible.
“Together with partners we are working ever more closer to make sure this happens.”
The council tax rise will cost the taxpayer an addition al £4 to £5 per year, an average of 8p per week.
All four police forces in the region announced plans to recruit more officers following a better-than-expected funding settlement from Chancellor George Osborne in November’s spending review announcement.
Local forces nationwide had been expecting cuts of between 25 and 40 per cent, but were instead told their funding would be protected.
It later emerged that they would get a similar level of funding to the previous year if they raised their share of the council tax precept by 1.99 per cent
Humberside Police says it will bring in another 300 officers in the next four years, while South Yorkshire Police will recruit a further 500 officers in the same period. Neighbouring North Yorkshire Police revealed last month that it was to start recruiting again, increasing its manpower from 1,343 to 1,400 officers.