More than 3,000 people have applied for 369 new police officer jobs in South Yorkshire – with bosses keen for new blood to restore the force’s reputation.
South Yorkshire Police is recruiting new bobbies to replace those due to retire over the next three years.
Bosses are hopeful the new generation will help improve the reputation of the force, hit by scandals including allegations officers turned a blind eye to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
The force is also still experiencing a backlash today from historic incidents including the Hillsborough disaster and Battle of Orgreave.
The 3,117 applicants – more than eight for each vacancy – will face interviews, fitness and medical tests.
Chief Constable David Crompton said: “The application process is tough, but this is because we are looking for the best possible police officers who can really make a positive difference to people’s lives across South Yorkshire.”
Neil Bowles, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: “Policing, like the society it’s drawn from, is continually changing, as are the demands of policing. When I joined we did not even have personally issued radios, control rooms had the only computers and messaging was done by ticker tape.
“Society now has a generation that have smart phones practically surgically implanted to the hand.
“ It follows that crime has followed and become high tech. Police officers have their own encrypted radios, are issued with mobile phones and at long last have laptops in our cars.
“Of course, violent crime is still the same, and on the rise, and we need the numbers to cope with that to keep the streets safe.”
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, said: “Every recruitment brings a fresh cohort of officers determined to do well for the public of South Yorkshire.
“They understand that some past practice was poor and they are keen to make a difference and improve the standard of policing. They know that the future reputation of the force will be determined by them and their contemporaries.
“It has been very difficult for officers in recent years trying to get beyond the issues of bad practice in the past.
“I am very encouraged by the attitudes of those in the force today.
There is a realisation that, whilst the past has to be acknowledged and lessons learnt, it must not be allowed to overwhelm morale today, but restoring confidence in the force is a matter of steady good practice.”