Foreign police chiefs could take over British forces as the Coalition pushes ahead with plans to end historic rules on senior police posts, ministers will announce on Monday.
Foreign police chiefs could take over British forces and senior police jobs will be opened up to senior Armed Forces officers and executives from the private sector, ministers will announce on Monday.
Graduates could also join the police as inspectors as police recruitment is opened up.
Despite resistance from police groups, the Coalition will go ahead with plans to end historic rules that mean senior police posts are open only to those who joined the service as constables.
Since Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829, the only way to enter the force has been to join as a constable.
Those rules have come under pressure in recent years, with critics saying the police need to open up to a wider pool of talent to ensure forces have specialist skills, especially in management and information technology.
Damian Green, the policing minister, will describe the new rules as ending the â€œclosed shopâ€ for police recruitment.
His changes could open the way for senior foreign officers like Bill Bratton, the former New York police chief, to take over British police forces.
In 2011, David Cameron attempted to hire Mr Bratton to run the Metropolitan Police, but was blocked by Home Office rules saying that only British citizens could apply for the post.
Under the new rules, any foreign citizen who is qualified to command a British force will be allowed to apply for a chief constableâ€™s post.
New recruitment rules will also allow a small number of people from outside the police to join forces in senior roles, as both inspectors and superintendents.
The change was recommended by Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, who advised ministers to open up recruitment to people of â€œexceptional achievement and ability who have been assessed as having the potential to be senior police officers.â€
He also advised that people who â€œgoodâ€ degrees should be able to enter the police at the rank of inspector.
The Winsor recommendations are unpopular with police groups. The Police Superintendentsâ€™ Association has said that allowing â€œdirect entryâ€ recruitment to the senior ranks could put the public at risk because the new staff will lack the ability to cope with life-threatening crises.
Mr Green rejected that argument, saying: â€œThese are clearly skills than can be transferred from other trades and professionsâ€.
The number of direct entries to senior ranks will be capped each year. Around 20 new superintendents and 80 new inspectors will be appointed, Home Office sources said. The new entry rules will be overseen the College of Policing.
Mr Green likened police recruitment rules to those forced on some industries by trade unions, who insisted that employers could only hire members of the union.
â€œClosed shops brought disrepute to some sections of British industry, with people rejected from their jobs because their face did not fit,â€ Mr Green said.
The Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons raised doubts about allowing â€œdirect entryâ€ recruitment to senior ranks, suggesting it could jeopardise the trust between senior commanders and their officers.
The committee suggested the college use a â€œpoints-basedâ€ direct entry system to identify specific skills requirements, â€œrather than simply throwing open the door to senior ranks.â€
Police jobs opened up to foreign chiefs in end to historic rules.