U.K. Opens Senior Police Posts to Business People, Armed Forces

Police Minister Damian Green said forces in England and Wales will be allowed to hire senior officers from outside the service in a bid to improve their performance.

Under rules dating back more than a century, only police officers who have worked their way up through the ranks can serve as superintendents or senior managers. The new plans, announced in a consultation by the Home Office today, would open senior posts to business people, members of the armed forces and foreigners. Police officers are resisting the move.

“There is no organization, no institution in the world that can’t get better,” Green told the BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program. “It’s a very odd situation that you can only get to senior ranks if you’ve started at the bottom and worked your way up.”

The president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, Derek Barnett, told the same program that senior officers benefit from years of service on the beat, talking to citizens and dealing with criminals.

“We have no shortage of talent in the police service,” Barnett said. “I don’t accept the premise there is a lack of talent in the service.”

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