Police chiefs are considering hiring ex-military personnel in a bid to tackle a national shortage of serious organised crime (SOC) investigators.
One police and crime commissioner (PCC) says the College of Policing is looking at creating a direct entry route that could be used by those who have been in the Armed Forces with experience of military intelligence.
Donna Jones, the Conservative PCC for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said there is a "massive national shortage" of specialist investigators to work in regional organised crime units – known as ROCUs.
Ms Jones, who was elected to the role this year and also leads the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners' (APCC) work on serious organised crime and victims, said: "We know that serious organised crime gangs now operate in every city and all major towns across the country.
"They no longer operate from warehouses, from back office-type hidden buildings, they are operating in residential streets in every city, and in most of the larger towns across the country."
Ms Jones said people leaving military intelligence roles in the Armed Forces were the "kind of people" the police would want applying for the direct entry roles into the College of Policing.
The Government has extended a recruitment drive to hire 1,150 specialist police officers to work in ROCUs until 2024 so it can fill the remaining 850 posts.
The Hampshire PCC acknowledged there might be some backlash within forces against direct entry candidates from staff who have worked their way up through the ranks.
But, she said: "For the time to get the people through the food chain up to investigations, it will take too long, and we need the people in the roles doing that work now, because of the level of organised crime that currently exists in the country."
She added that the British public was "largely unaware" of "a lot of serious organised crime occurring in Britain", highlighting examples such as "multiple kidnappings happening across regions on a weekly basis" that are very often not even reported to the police.
Conservative PCC for Lincolnshire and APCC chairman Marc Jones said the public are the "consumers" of serious organised crime, and that putting "money in the pockets" of people that commit it only leads to more crimes being carried out.
Mr Jones also said police need to do more to explain to the public how "our social responsibilities link directly through to us all working to tackle SOC".