BUSINESS executives could replace senior police officers in North Yorkshire, under new plans being considered by the force.

Direct entry was introduced by the Government last year to widen the talent pool of applicants for police roles, and allows members of the private or commercial sector to join the police force in senior positions without any policing experience.

West Yorkshire Police recently announced it would be the first in the UK to adopt the scheme to advertise for Superintendent positions, and it is one of several initiatives currently being considered by North Yorkshire Police.

A spokesman confirmed to The Press that direct entry “is something that North Yorkshire Police is considering”, but Chief Constable Dave Jones made it clear no decision had been made and discussions were in the early stages.

Mr Jones said: “There are many things to consider when looking at direct entry, however it is important that I get good people so I can be confident that all eventualities can be dealt with. I am not in a position to say at this time whether we will or will not adopt the direct entry scheme.”

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said the idea was “an interesting new development", and welcomed "innovation designed to enhance policing and provide a better service to victims".

She said: “It also raises the possibility of fast-tracking specialist skills into the service. For example, customer service expertise might aid our quest in developing a more victim-centric approach. Plus some civilians have knowledge that could be very useful in particular areas such as online crime and fraud. I will watch with interest as West Yorkshire Police progress their plans.”

Mike Stubbs, secretary of North Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "North Yorkshire Police has a broad range of talent already within the organisation. We recruit officers, not only in their 20’s, but in their 30’s and 40’s, many of whom have had significant experience in other employment sectors, and they bring a wide variety of skills with them.

"They have to demonstrate they can deliver policing on the streets before they can progress through the organisation. That operational experience is essential when dealing with the sort of critical incidents that police commanders have to manage.

“At the moment, the direct entry scheme is an experiment which is both unproven and expensive. I am sure there are senior police officers who could have a good crack at running a branch of Morrison’s or Asda. But, if it goes badly, they might end up with empty shelves or all the wrong products in stock at the wrong time. Consequences in the police environment can be far more grave.”