Candidates are poised to become first officers to enter police at senior rank rather than working their way up from constable
A civil servant, a bank worker and a member of the armed forces are among the first ever fast-track recruits into senior police ranks.
The College of Policing said 13 candidates had passed a rigorous assessment process to become superintendents.
If, as expected, they complete the final stages the nine men and four women will become the first recruits will break more than 180 years of tradition by entering the police at a rank higher than constable.
The College said 13 out of 40 candidates who took the assessment for “direct entry” were successful, a lower number than anticipated, and their ages range between 30 and 48. At a time when the ethnic breakdown of the police is under continuing scrutiny, the College said two of the applicants going forward to the next stages are black or Asian.
“The successful candidates come from a wide range of professions including finance, media and creative industries, the armed forces and civil service,” said a spokesman.
“They include four women and two people from a black and minority ethnic background.”
Ten were referred by the Metropolitan Police and one each from the Avon and Somerset, Sussex and North Yorkshire forces.
The 10 Met candidates are due to undergo one-to-one interviews with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner, later this month
Those who are offered jobs will start 18 months’ training in November.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall, the chief executive of the College of Policing, said: “We have always maintained that this would be a tough programme to be accepted onto because the development programme and the superintendent role is so demanding.
“The assessment centres have identified some exceptional performers who we believe will be able to rise to that challenge over the course of their training.”
Chief Constable Sara Thornton, the director of Police National Assessment Centres , said: “We’re looking for outstanding leaders to come into the service through this programme and we have seen some excellent applicants perform well in these tough and testing four day assessment centres.
“The process was deliberately demanding so that we could find the candidates with both leadership qualities and the ability to bring in new ideas around efficiency, effectiveness and make a positive impact on the culture in policing.
“A total of 13 applicants passed the national assessment centre and while this is a lower number than hoped I am confident that they all have the potential to make a tangible impact on policing and ultimately, the service delivered to the public.”
The decision to open up the police to direct entry, abolishing the traditional system of all officers working their way up from constable rank, has been controversial.
It was opposed by the Police Federation, which represents 125,000 frontline officers, as “elitist” and potentially damaging.
Some officers said it had been a point of principle established by Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern British policing in 1829, that all officers began as constables.
But Mike Penning, the police minister, said: “The future success of the police is dependent on attracting the brightest and best to careers in the force.
“The government introduced direct entry to open up the senior ranks of the police to people with new perspectives and expertise.
“Direct entry is a demanding challenge and it is right that applicants should go through a robust selection process to make sure only those who can meet the high standards required to complete the training programme and become excellent police leaders are appointed.”
Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, vice-president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, welcomed the announcement and said the process had been a “rigorous examination of the candidates’ abilities and potential”.
New ‘direct entry’ police superintendents will break 180 years of tradition