New police recruits will no longer have to serve as a bobby on the beat for the first time in Britain under a far-reaching overhaul of recruitment rules.
In what normally takes a decade to achieve, military personnel, security staff and industry professionals will be able to enter the police force as superintendents.
A fast-track scheme aimed at both university graduates and serving officers will allow constables to rise to the rank of inspector in just three years, while foreign candidates will be able to apply for chief constable roles for the first time.
Policing minister Damian Green said the Government wanted to "forge a force fit for the 21st century" by opening up the police to a "wider pool of talent".
But police chiefs said direct entry would increase frustration among ambitious staff already facing fewer promotion opportunities in the wake of 20% budget cuts.