THE Home Secretary is expected to unveil a radical shake-up of police recruitment rules that will allow new starters to skip the compulsory two years on the beat.

Under current rules, all police must enter at constable rank but the proposals to be unveiled by Theresa May later are understood to include direct entry into the police at superintendent level.

And the Home Secretary is also believed to be planning to change the law so foreign police chiefs will be able to run British forces for the first time.

The overhaul is part of a package of reforms that were drawn up by ex-rail regulator Tom Winsor in the most wide-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years.

Under his proposals, "exceptional" applicants would have the chance to rise from civilian to inspector in just three years.

Successful businessmen and women, along with members of the armed forces and the security services, should all be encouraged to apply to the fast-track scheme, Mr Winsor said.

Mr Winsor, who is now Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, previously said he wanted to end the notion of policing as an intellectually undemanding occupation.

He added that the "brightest and best" applicants with skills "distinctly above those of factory workers" were needed.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told a policing conference earlier this month that it was time to "consider and support" direct entry.

He added that he would like to see one in 10 senior officers recruited from outside the police force.

In addition, a proposal to allow candidates from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among others, to front up forces in England and Wales is expected.

Current legislation prevented US "supercop" Bill Bratton, former head of the New York police, applying to take charge of the Metropolitan Police in 2011.

Mr Bratton gained a reputation for introducing bold measures to reduce crime, heading police departments in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

In his first two years at the helm of New York Police Department, reports of serious crime dropped 27 per cent.

But Mrs May dashed any chances of him becoming Britain's top police officer when she underlined the importance of the Scotland Yard commissioner being a British citizen for national security reasons.

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