Jan 30 2013
New starters will be able to join forces at superintendent level as part of a wider overhaul of recruitment rules unveiled by policing minister Damian Green.
Mr Green also revealed plans for a fast track to inspector scheme, and foreign police chiefs will be able to run British forces for the first time.
The overhaul is part of a package of reforms that were put forward by ex-rail regulator Tom Winsor in the widest-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years.
In a written statement, Mr Green said: "The issue of choosing our police leaders is of the highest importance to the future of the police. The fast-track-to-inspector scheme will attract the brightest with the most potential to go on to become leaders.
"Direct entry at senior ranks will make sure that there is access to the best pool of talent, those who have proven leadership and business skills and who can bring with them fresh thinking from other sectors."
Mr Green later told Sky News that police reforms were working. He said: "Crime has fallen 10% and confidence in the police is generally high. But no organisations are so good they can't be made better.
"The police cope with a large amount of change all the time, this is another of the changes that will be beneficial. There will be a relatively small number of people coming into the police from other backgrounds, increasing the diversity of the police."
Under current rules, all police must enter at constable rank, but the proposals put out for consultations would allow new starters to skip the compulsory two years on the beat.
Mr Green said he would also consult on a proposal to widen eligibility for chief constable rank to include officers in equivalent roles in countries with "a common law jurisdiction" - such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India.
Current legislation prevented US "supercop" Bill Bratton, former head of the New York police, applying to take charge of the Metropolitan Police in 2011. The consultation on the proposals has started and closes on March 28.