Direct Entry at the police inspector rank is to be introduced, the College of Policing has announced.
Under the new programme, forces will be recruiting “exceptional external candidates to join the service at inspector level,” said the College.
Candidates will be able to apply in February with the process scheduled to start November.
This is something that has not been done in policing in almost 100 years.
It has been reported that 16 forces are going for the scheme – although they are yet to be named.
The College makes no mentions of its plans for the 3,833+ police sergeants who have already passed the promotion exams for the inspecting ranks but have yet to be promoted.
The College added: “The programme will give police forces access to a wide mix of external expertise once recruits have passed a rigorous selection process and undergone a year-long intensive development programme.
“The decision to bring in the new programme follows the successful introduction of Direct Entry at superintendent level and a recommendation in the Leadership Review which called for greater career flexibility in policing through better routes of entry, exit and re-entry.
“The programme will build upon and replace the existing Fast Track programme for external graduates. The internal Fast Track programme for existing officers will stay the same, while candidates already on the external Fast Track programme will continue.”
Successful candidates will be trained using a mix of classroom and on-the-job learning, including operational rotations at both constable and sergeant rank. The candidates will work alongside experienced officers and have dedicated mentors to help them achieve the necessary level.
Direct Entry lead for the College, Chief Superintendent Nicola Dale, said: “This programme will be extremely tough, but it needs to be – to become an inspector, candidates will need to demonstrate they are at the very top of their game.”