This article appears in the April 2014 edition of the College newsletter.
The College of Policing launched a new recruitment programme last week to bring people with more diverse backgrounds and different perspectives into policing.
In a first for the service in England and Wales, the Direct Entry programme will see 20 experienced leaders from the private, public and third sectors join policing as superintendents.
The seven police forces taking part in the programme will recruit for the posts throughout April and May, with successful applicants starting work in November.
Superintendent Nicola Dale, who leads the programme for the College of Policing, said:
"Traditionally people have come through the police service and gone up through the ranks. This programme allows us to bring in whole new ways of thinking and innovation.
"Superintendents have worked hard to get to this rank, but these people will also have worked hard in a different working sphere. So that we get the best out of successful candidates' experience, we'll support them through an 18-month development course which will equip them with the skills they need to excel within policing.
"We are mindful that there are people within the service who see this as a threat, but there is plenty of room for the Direct Entry superintendents without impacting on promotions internally. None of the forces involved wants to close the door for their internal leaders. As part of the programme, we will be seeking changes to regulations to put Direct Entry superintendents on probation, which will allow us to remove candidates who don't show the necessary ability."
Gavin Thomas, vice president of the Police Superintendent's Association of England and Wales, said:
"I see this programme having the potential to complement the great talent and leadership already in the service, and we are always keen to embrace new ideas and perspectives from outside the service. We were initially concerned about new candidates coming into the force without grounding in operational policing. I know the College of Policing are aware of those concerns and working hard to alleviate them.
"Diversity among senior policing is not great at the moment, and this could be one of the ways of improving that."
The police forces recruiting for superintendents at Direct Entry are Avon and Somerset, British Transport Police, City of London, Metropolitan Police, North Yorkshire, Sussex and West Yorkshire.
You can read more information on the Direct Entry programme page.