What we do

Our principal role is summarised in our statement of purpose:

To promote improvements in policing to make everyone safer.

Inspecting policing in the public interest

The public want the police to succeed in their duty to keep people safe and secure. It is in the public interest that the quality of policing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland keeps improving.

At HMIC, we inspect, monitor and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and policing activity with the aim of encouraging improvement.

By providing accessible information on the performance of forces, we allow their public, and peers, to see how they are doing. This will place pressure on those forces requiring improvement in aspects of policing to raise their game.

We will always try to see policing through the public’s eyes. We will use consumer ‘watchdog’ tactics, such as mystery shopping, and ask the public, in surveys, what they think about policing and where they want to see improvements.

Our reports are clear, jargon-free, accessible, measured, objective, statistically reliable and authoritative.

We also continue to provide high-quality professional advice to police, using experienced officers and other subject-matter experts to identify the best practice which all forces can learn from to improve their performance. We encourage operational excellence and, increasingly, a good deal for the public in terms of value for money.

We carry out many force inspections and visits on a regular and rolling basis, and publish our findings on this website. Our reports on broad policing themes and specific subjects – from terrorism and serious organised crime to custody arrangements – can all be found in the publications section.

Much of our work relates to the mainstream police forces in England and Wales, together with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the British Transport Police. However, we also inspect other law enforcement bodies, including the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

Organisational strategy

The organisational strategy sets out – for HMIC staff, the public, the police and others with whom we work – who we are as an organisation; our purpose and objectives; and where we want to be by 2020.

Read the strategy

HMIC and the Public Sector Equality Duty

Our purpose is to make equality and diversity considerations a routine part of everything we do, whether it is in relation to our role of inspecting policing in the public interest, interactions and treatment of our staff, or holding forces to account.

As a listed body, HMIC will, within all our inspections, give consideration to inequality and, where identified, make recommendations to improve experiences in support of the Public Sector Equality Duty. These recommendations can be found in our publications.

For further information about the Public Sector Equality Duty, please see the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.