How HMICFRS works with PCCs and Mayoral Offices

HMICFRS inspects and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces, as well as specified national policing agencies such as the National Crime Agency.

This section gives information about how we work with PCCs. Click on the links to find out more:

For information on the legislation which underpins each of these functions, see our latest inspection programme and framework.

Responses to HMICFRS inspection reports

If HMICFRS has published an inspection report, and that report relates to a police force, section 55 of the Police Act 1996 requires the local policing body (the police and crime commissioner and the equivalents in London and Manchester) to prepare comments on the report and to publish them (section 55(5)).

Inspection reports are sometimes concerned with only one police force; some relate to several forces; and some relate to all forces (usually national reports and thematic reports). Unless a particular force is clearly not the subject of the report, the following procedure (required by section 55) must be followed.

If HMICFRS has published both a national report and a force-specific report on the same subject (for example, efficiency or domestic abuse), it is necessary for the following procedure to be followed in respect of both the national report and the force-specific report, except where the national report and the force-specific report contain the same findings and recommendations. In the latter case, it is necessary to follow the procedure only in respect of the force-specific report; repetition and duplication are of course unnecessary.

The local policing body must first invite the chief officer of the force to submit to the local policing body his or her comments on the HMICFRS report before such date as the local policing body specifies (section 55(4)).

The local policing body must then prepare his or her comments on the published inspection report, and must publish those comments, together with the chief constable’s comments and any response which the local policing body has to the chief constable’s comments (section 55(5)).

Those comments must be published within 56 days of the date of publication of the inspection report (section 55(5A)).

If the inspection report contains recommendations, the local policing body’s comments must include an explanation of:

  1. the action the local policing body has taken or proposes to take in response to the recommendations; or
  2. why the local policing body has not taken, or does not propose to take, any action in response (section 55(5B)).

The local policing body is required to send a copy of the published comments to HMICFRS and the Home Secretary (section, 55(6)).

What HMICFRS does with the responses

Local policing bodies can send their responses in the way they prefer. If they wish, they can provide a link to where their responses are published on their own websites, via a digital tool.

If HMICFRS receives a link in this way, we will publish it on our website, next to the relevant report. We won’t publish responses which are received by letter, email or another route. Therefore, the list of links is not necessarily a full list of the responses received.

Responses will be published in batches throughout the year.

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Provide useful, comparable, actionable information

HMICFRS publishes independent and authoritative information on the whole breadth of policing activity.

We conduct annual all-force inspections where forces are assessed on their effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy. They are judged as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate on these categories (or pillars) based on inspection findings, analysis and Her Majesty’s Inspectors’ (HMIs) professional judgment across the year.

To see what information we hold on your force, select it from the map on the home page. You can also see all the reports we’ve published (since 2005) in our publications section.

These include reports we’ve published jointly with the inspectorates of prisons, probation and the Crown Prosecution Service, which focus on issues that cut across the criminal justice system. These reports therefore offer a more rounded look at the criminal justice system in your area.

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Conduct commissioned inspections

In all but exceptional cases, we will only carry out policing inspections additional to our business plan commitments if commissioned to do so either by the Home Secretary (as was the case, for instance, with our 2014 report on domestic abuse) or by a PCC. In some circumstances we may also inspect if we judge there is an enduring risk to the public.

HMICFRS has the experience and knowledge to inspect any area of policing. PCCs that wish to commission an HMICFRS inspection should, in the first instance, contact their regional HM Inspector. Their contact details are on each force page; choose your force from the map on the home page.

Before accepting a commission from a PCC we will discuss the requirements and the scope of the inspection with them. Standard terms including duration and estimated cost will be agreed before we proceed. HMICFRS will publish the findings from all inspections commissioned by PCCs.

All HMICFRS police reports are published following an inspection, unless they include information that might jeopardise a person’s safety or breach national security.

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Assist (on request) in identifying complaint investigators

HMICFRS has a statutory duty to ensure we are kept informed of all complaints and misconduct in a police force. If a PCC decides a complaint is of a nature that does not need referring to the Independent Office for Police Conduct but is not suitable for local resolution, they will be able to ask us to identify another force to investigate. This is a continuation of the way we previously worked with police authorities.

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Sit on misconduct panels for chief constables and other senior ranks

Our HM Inspectors sit on misconduct and appeals panels for chief constables and other senior officers.

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Produce a report if the PCC is proposing to call upon a chief constable to retire or resign

If a PCC is seeking to remove a chief constable, they must first obtain and consider the views of HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMCIC) on the proposed dismissal. If the PCC then proceeds with the matter, they must later consider the opinion of the local police and crime panel. The panel may also ask HMCIC for their views on the matter.

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