NORTH Yorkshire's most senior police officer has applied for the top job at West Yorkshire Police.

Chief Constable Della Cannings is one of four top cops to be shortlisted to replace Colin Cramphorn as chief constable of West Yorkshire.

It is believed the job would mean a £32,000 pay increase.

Joe Scott, secretary of the Police Federation in West Yorkshire, said the job had been open to all serving chief constables and acting chief constables to apply.

He said: "Della Cannings is one of four applicants to have got through to the final selection process."

West Yorkshire Police is the fourth largest force in the country with 5,690 police officers and 3,659 police staff - compared with about 1,600 officers and just over 1,000 staff in North Yorkshire.

The West Yorkshire force serves about 2.1 million people, compared with 800,000 in North Yorkshire.

It is believed that Ms Cannings would earn an extra £32,000 a year if she got the West Yorkshire job.

She refused to confirm or deny whether she had applied for the job.

When asked if she planned to continue as Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police Ms Cannings said chief constables had fixed term appointments which were for five years.

She said: "I have been here for four years. My appointment goes up to October 13, 2007.

"The issue of whether I am applying for jobs elsewhere, in the service or out, or whether I will continue with North Yorkshire for longer, is a private matter and not something I would wish to discuss. It is a matter for discussion between myself and the police authority."

She added that it was normal for a chief constable to give three months notice if they did decide to leave early.

It was announced in September that Mr Cramphorn is to retire at the end of the year, due to ill-health after four years in the job.

West Yorkshire Police Authority Chairman, Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson, said plans to appoint Mr Cramphorn's successor were underway and a new Chief Constable is likely to be appointed by the New Year.

The four candidates believed to have been shortlisted for the West Yorkshire job

Della Cannings, who was appointed Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police in 2002.

She was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Cleveland Police in 2000 having joined Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in 1975, where she rose from constable to chief superintendent.

Julia Hodson, who was appointed Acting Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in September.

Ms Hodson, joined the force as Deputy Chief Constable in 2005, with responsibility for the force's overall performance and legal and professional standards.

She was previously Assistant Chief Constable at Lancashire Police.

Norman Bettison, who quit as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police in 2004 and became boss of private police training centre Centrex.

His appointment to Merseyside in 1998 was controversial because he had been part of the South Yorkshire Police unit which investigated the Hillsborough disaster.

Graham Maxwell, currently Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and a former Assistant Chief Constable at West Yorkshire Police.

During his career he has worked in various roles including Custody Officer, CID, Staff Officer to the Chief Constable, and District Commander at Middlesbrough.