Our approach to monitoring forces

Please note: this page principally refers to the monitoring of police forces. Following the announcement, in July 2017, that HMICFRS would also inspect fire & rescue services, this section will be updated to include arrangements with fire & rescue services as and when those arrangements are finalised.

Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) routinely monitor the performance of all police forces in England and Wales in order to ensure that:

  • any emerging problems with the efficiency, effectiveness or legitimacy of individual forces are spotted quickly, and that chief constables and local policing bodies are aware of those problems and are taking corrective action; and
  • if problems with the efficiency, effectiveness or legitimacy of a force are substantial and there is a low prospect of them being resolved, those problems are raised formally with the local policing body, so that they can respond.

The monitoring process is linked to the PEEL assessments. Information from the PEEL assessments feeds into the monitoring process, and vice versa. HMIs are guided by, but not limited to, examining the core questions from the PEEL assessment when monitoring forces. All of this information contributes to the HMI’s annual assessments of each force. Additionally, data analysis and routine information gathering undertaken by HMICFRS staff forms part of the monitoring process.

HMICFRS reviews the approach to monitoring frequently to ensure that evolves in line with changes to police forces in England and Wales. We are working with police forces to refine the challenge and support provided to police forces through the monitoring process.

The monitoring process

Routine monitoring identifies apparent issues for closer scrutiny. Some of these will be outside the control of the force and local policing body, or will already have been tackled; but some may be indicators of systemic or management failings in the force. The decision on whether to follow up any concerns with the force and local policing body rests with the HMI who leads on HMICFRS’ relationship with that force area.

There are two stages in HMICFRS’ monitoring process:

  1. Scan – The default phase of monitoring, the scanning phase uses data and information from a range of sources to highlight poor or deteriorating performance and identify potential areas of concern. Quarterly monitoring will be undertaken and a summary monitoring report produced that will be discussed with HMIs and, if possible causes for concern are found, at the regular monitoring group meetings.
  2. Engage – If a force is not responding to a cause of concern, or if it is not succeeding in managing, mitigating or eradicating the cause of concern, it is probable they will be moved to the Engage phase. In the Engage phase, forces will develop an improvement plan to address the specific cause(s) of concern that has caused them to be placed in the advanced phase of the monitoring process. The force may receive support from external organisations such as the College of Policing or the National Police Chiefs Council, brokered by HMICFRS.