In order to stamp out corruption, the ban on recruiting foreign police chiefs should be dropped, said The prime Minister David Cameron. He also mentioned that it might be a good idea to recruit senior figures to the police from other sectors.

“At the moment the police system is too closed,” the PM told the House of Commons. “There is only one point of entry into the force. There are too few – and arguably too similar – candidates for the top jobs. I want to see radical proposals for how we can open up our police force and bring in fresh leadership.”

At the moment police officers must be UK citizens, European Economic Area nationals or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. And it is illegal to appoint anyone other than a UK citizen to the post of Metropolitan Police Commissioner. The Tory Party is said to be a big fan of Bill Bratton, who was instrumental in reducing New York crime figures in the 1990s.

But Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Before we have any inquiry [to be headed up by the former rail regulator Tom Winsor] we have a kneejerk reaction from the prime minister. We have real concerns about direct entry to the police service as we believe that in order to understand and appreciate the importance of policing by consent and the style of operational policing in this country, everyone should start at the rank of constable. We also have an entirely different legal system in this country to that used overseas and it is imperative that senior officers and leaders in policing have a real working knowledge of it.”

And the idea didn’t sit well with Peter Fahy, Greater Manchester’s chief constable and spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, who dismissed it with the comment: “Just as one would not expect a medical student to act as a surgeon I am not sure the public would want people on ‘work experience’ in command of high-risk situations.”

Perhaps more seriously he added. “We have many contacts with policing overseas and a constant stream of visitors wanting to learn from our system of locally accountable, largely unarmed policing. American colleagues are clear that police leadership in this country, for all the current debate, is among the best in the world