Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services

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Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), formerly Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), has statutory responsibility for the inspection of the police forces, and since July 2017 the fire and rescue services, of England and Wales. HMICFRS is headed by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services. It has taken over the responsibilities of Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate.

Inspections may also be made, by invitation only, and on a non-statutory basis, of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man Constabulary.

England and Wales[edit]

In England and Wales, HMICFRS is responsible to the UK Parliament.[1] The first inspectors were appointed under the County and Borough Police Act 1856; current statutory functions are contained in the Police Act 1996 and related legislation. However, HMICFRS's principal statutory functions are unchanged since its establishment in 1856 – to assess and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces in England and Wales. In July 2017, its remit was expanded to include responsibility to assess and report on the efficiency, effectiveness and leadership of the 45 fire & rescue services in England.[2]

The inspectorate reports on the activities of the territorial forces of England and Wales and other bodies involved in law enforcement, such as the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency.

Reporting has also been performed on a voluntary basis for the Special Investigation Branch (SIB) of the Royal Military Police.

As a public authority, HMICFRS is susceptible to judicial review.

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary between 2009 and 2012 was former Surrey Police Chief Constable, Sir Denis O'Connor. In June 2012, the lawyer and former rail regulator Tom Winsor was nominated to succeed Sir Denis. His nomination was approved in August 2012 and he took office on 1 October 2012. Winsor is the first Chief Inspector to be appointed from outside the police service.[3]

In addition to the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, there are five inspectors of constabulary: Phil Gormley QPM[4] (formerly Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary and Police Scotland); Zoe Billingham[5] (formerly a senior official in the Cabinet Office); Matthew Parr CB[6][7] (formerly a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy); Drusilla Sharpling (formerly Chief Crown Prosecutor for London) and Wendy Williams[8] (formerly Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Direct).

Northern Ireland[edit]

Inspections of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have been made in recent years by invitation on a non-statutory basis. The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 allows HMIC to perform inspection and assessment of services or projects by direction of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. At the request of the Chief Constable of the PSNI, in 2013 the Inspectorate published a report into Northern Ireland's Historical Enquiries Team.[9]

List of Chief Inspectors[edit]

Inspectors of Constabulary for England and Wales from 1856

  • Captain Francis J. Parry, –1900
  • Captain Herbert D. Terry, 1900–[10]

The first Chief Inspector was appointed in 1962.[11]

In July 2017, the role became Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services. The current incumbent is Sir Thomas Winsor.


  1. ^ http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/
  2. ^ "Fire & rescue services". HMICFRS. Retrieved 2017-09-25.
  3. ^ "Tom Winsor picked as top candidate for senior police role". BBC News. 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  4. ^ "Phil Gormley QPM".
  5. ^ "Zoë Billingham". Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  6. ^ "Home Secretary announces appointment of new HM Inspector of Constabulary - News stories - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  7. ^ "Matt Parr, CB". Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  8. ^ "Wendy Williams". Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  9. ^ "#018/2013 – The Historical Enquiries Team's approach to reviewing deaths during 'the troubles' is inconsistent, has serious shortcomings and so risks public confidence, HMIC finds". 3 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Appointment". The Times (36077). London. 28 February 1900. p. 9.
  11. ^ "HMIC website".

External links[edit]