#021/2013 – HMCIC: “The operational integrity and independence of chief constables is sacrosanct.”

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, uses the Police Foundation John Harris Memorial Lecture to call for better understanding of the relationship between chief constables and police and crime commissioners.

In a lecture given today, 11 July 2013, in the Draper’s Hall, City of London, HMCIC Tom Winsor discusses the importance of chief constable operational independence; the heavy responsibilities of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs); and the proper and lawful use of section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, under which a PCC can require a chief constable to retire or resign (in set circumstances).

In discussing the relationship between chief constables and police and crime commissioners, Mr Winsor states:

“The relative positions of these two immensely important public authorities must be clearly understood by everyone concerned. It is not a fragile boundary between them, and it will not fracture, provided those on both sides of it are clear as to its nature and position, and neither attempts improperly to alter it or place it under undue pressure… such an unjustifiable state of affairs could amount to a dangerous politicisation of the police, something which neither the Government nor Parliament ever intended.”

Mr Winsor concludes:

“The new model of democratic accountability of the police, in the shape of police and crime commissioners, has the capacity to be a very great success, provided everyone in the system has a full and proper appreciation of its checks and balances, and the limits of power.”

The lecture is published on the HMIC website (www.hmic.gov.uk)


Notes to editors

  1. Tom Winsor took up the role of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary on 01 October 2012.
  2. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing bodies.
  3. The Police Foundation is an independent policing think tank focused on developing knowledge and understanding of policing and challenging the police service and the government to improve policing for the benefit of the public. The Foundation aims to promote debate on policing; to provide commentary, knowledge and insight into contemporary policing issues; and to improve practice in policing through research, consultancy and training. For more information on the Police Foundation, see www.police-foundation.org.uk
  4. For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday on 0203 513 0600.
  5. HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.