NORTH Yorkshire Police, one of the first in the country to open up its ranks to recruit from non-police backgrounds, has begun its search for the future high-flyers.

Eyebrows were raised when the force announced it was to become one of six in the country to offer top jobs under a direct-entry scheme to improve diversity.

North Yorkshire Chief Constable Dave Jones had previously been in favour of using seasoned officers in top positions but more recently he said he recognised the benefits of looking to the public, private, and third sectors for new talent.

Two superintendent jobs are up for grabs in North Yorkshire under the initiative.

Graduates recruited under a separate fast-track promotion scheme can also expect to rise from PC to inspector rank in three years.

Mr Jones underlined the force already had excellent senior leaders and police officers who are committed, professional and experienced.

“However, the police service is facing new challenges and needs to change to meet those demands,” he continued.

“In order to deliver the most responsive police service in England and for our communities to feel safe and be safe, we need to develop new ways of working.

“Direct entry affords those from a diverse background, who already have senior leadership experience in more varied environments, to enter the service at a level where they can have an immediate impact.”

Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “Direct entry is an important tool in ensuring North Yorkshire Police recruit the brightest and best.

“Any new recruits will be joining an already professional senior leadership team, but offer police the chance to bring in talented individuals from a diverse and varied background.”

The deadline for applications for the fast-track programme is Friday May 23 and – for the direct entry scheme – Friday June 6.

The force is hosting a web-chat on the matter on its official website today. It will be held for anyone who wishes to take part from 6-7pm.

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Other forces involved are the Metropolitan Police, City of London, West Yorkshire, Sussex and Avon and Somerset.