The recruitment of more Police Community Support Officers could be vital to a neighbourhood policing scheme which is set to be rolled out across Oxfordshire.

A national PCSO recruitment campaign was launched on Monday, with television and radio advertising.

Thames Valley Police have accepted £13.3m Government funding for 568 PCSOs over the next two years.

Oxfordshire police commander, Chief Supt David McWhirter, said the county already had 48, and it was hoped that a further 72 would be added.

Failure to recruit that number could scupper plans for 78 neighbourhood policing teams - teams of police officers and PCSOs who serve particular areas - in the county.

Mr McWhirter said he expected all Oxfordshire's neighbourhood policing teams to be in place by November 2007, in time for the Government deadline of March 2008.

He said: "We have been asked to ringfence 50 police officers, who, unless Great Britain goes to war, will be working on neighbourhood policing.

"That is coming together but there will have to be a decision about what should happen if PCSO recruitment does not go as well as we want."

Thames Valley Police Acting Chief Constable Sara Thornton said that since launching its own PCSO recruitment drive in April, the force had received more than 950 requests for information packs.

She said: "The PCSOs we already have in the Thames Valley have made a real difference to the communities where they work and are much appreciated by local residents.

"Many of the issues they deal with, like antisocial behaviour, are exactly the sorts of things that people want sorted out locally but which police officers are sometimes too busy to deal with.

"Ideally what we are looking for is individuals who are confident and level headed, enjoy working with people and as part of a team, and who are willing and able to deal with difficult people, problems and situations."

To get a PCSO application pack visit the website or call 0845 600 0925.