A SCHEME which allows business executives to replace senior police officers has been adopted by North Yorkshire Police.

The direct entry initiative was introduced by the Government last year to allow members of the private or commercial sector to join the police force in senior positions without any policing experience.

Last month, Chief Constable Dave Jones told The Press decisions were in the early stages, and direct entry was one of several initiatives being considered by the force, but yesterday, North Yorkshire Police was announced as one of six forces around the country to take on the scheme - with direct entry announced for two superintendent roles.

Chief Constable Dave Jones said changes to the scheme had overcome his concerns about the idea, which would mean a wider talent pool to apply for high-ranking officer roles.

Mr Jones said: “Despite my initial reservations which were informed by basic details around the scheme I have had the opportunity over the last six months to discuss in detail with colleagues both within North Yorkshire Police and wider police service, and this has lead to us being able to influence the proposals so that the scheme now has a very vigorous selection process and the 18 month training requires a robust operational element, which is now pass/fail has influenced my current position.

“Particularly as I believe these developments have mitigated my main concern around operational competence. It is also reassuring that the ultimate decision for employing people onto the scheme is a matter for the Chief Constable. I have always supported the opening up of the service to new talent and ideas so look forward to the scheme delivering what will need to be exceptional individuals and there by enhancing our services to the public.”

Last month, Mike Stubbs, the secretary of North Yorkshire Police Federation, called the direct entry scheme "unproven and expensive", and said consequences could be "grave" if the scheme did not work well.

Today, Mark Botham from NYPF said he was concerned that the scheme had lured forces to take part with financial benefits which would not last forever, but the Federation was open to ideas which could help provide good service.

He said: "Anything which helps us deliver a better service to the public and does not compromise the health, safety and welfare of our members in doing so is supported by us.

"We are not convinced about direct entry. We know many of our members have directly transferable skills to use in the private sector but it is not axiomatic that the converse is true. We can all learn from each other but we worry this is a further government gimmick which forces are taking up because at present it is funded. Will there be a robust transparent independent evaluation? What happens when the central funding runs out?"