HM Inspector Wendy Williams leaves HMICFRS

I shall shortly end my role as His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, an organisation I am proud to have been a part of since 2015.

Throughout my time at HMICFRS, I have been fortunate to have worked closely with colleagues across our inspected sectors of policing and fire & rescue as they have made positive, sustainable changes for the better. None of this would have been possible without our dedicated staff, to whom I am truly thankful. Their unwavering commitment to supporting police forces and fire & rescue services to improve, and their passion for ensuring our work is always of the highest standard, has been inspiring.

During my time at HMICFRS, I have had the privilege of leading inspections which have addressed critical issues within policing and fire – not only within the Wales and West of England region, for which I was responsible, but also nationally. My work has focused on how HMICFRS can work with other criminal justice inspectorates to improve the whole system.

I have also taken a particular interest in improving the criminal justice response to vulnerable people. We have seen improvements in law enforcement responses to both stalking and combating modern slavery, with enhanced victim support services and increased accountability for perpetrators.

Our inspections into the police response to rape called for better communication with victims, enhanced training, and a heightened focus on victim support. We have seen improvements in this area through Operation Soteria, a collaborative police and Crown Prosecution Service programme, which brings together police forces with academics and policy leads to use evidence and new insight.

There has also been notable progress towards fairness, proportionality and transparency in stop and search.

And our inspections into child sexual exploitation have led to strengthened prevention strategies, improved coordination among agencies and better support for victims.

Not only have these inspections driven progress in making key reforms, but they have also shone a light on the voices of those affected. I am thankful to those who have shared their experiences to support our inspections, and to the organisations who work alongside the inspectorate to provide ongoing scrutiny.

While it has been immensely rewarding to observe the progress the policing and fire & rescue sectors have made in addressing some of these pivotal issues, there is still much more work to be done. I therefore look forward to seeing the inspectorate continue to have a positive impact on making communities safer.

HMI Wendy Williams