What we do

Our principal role is summarised in our statement of purpose:

To promote improvements in policing and fire & rescue services to make everyone safer.

Inspecting policing in the public interest

The public want the police and fire & rescue services (FRSs) to succeed in their duties to keep people safe and secure. It is in the public interest that the quality of policing and fire & rescue in England, Wales and Northern Ireland keeps improving.

At HMICFRS, we inspect, monitor and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of the police and FRSs with the aim of encouraging improvement.

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

We will always try to see policing and fire & rescue 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 FRS 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 the police and FRSs, using experienced officers and other subject-matter experts to identify the best practice from which all forces and FRSs can learn to improve their performance. We encourage operational excellence and a good deal for the public in terms of value for money.

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

Much of our police 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. Our FRS inspections focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and leadership of the 45 FRSs in England.

Organisational strategy

The organisational strategy sets out – for HMICFRS 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

HMICFRS 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, HMICFRS 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.