HMICFRS Inspection Reports





The PCC has a statutory duty to comment on reports published by HMICFRS about Sussex Police. To make these easily accessible and to keep the public fully informed about any responses the PCC has made to HMICFRS, a copy of the response will be published below, together with links to the relevant report.  

In March 2021, the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to inspect the effectiveness of police engagement with women and girls.

This final report [builds on the previous interim report] and sets out findings from our inspection of how effectively the police respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG) offences. These are violent and high-harm crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls, such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking and female genital mutilation.

The report can be viewed here

In March 2021, the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to inspect the effectiveness of police engagement with women and girls. 

This interim report sets out findings and recommendations from one part of this inspection, which focuses on how effectively the police respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG) offences. These are violent and high-harm crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls, such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and female genital mutilation (FGM).

The interim report can be viewed here.

The United Kingdom entered the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020. Most of us were instructed to stay at home. This meant many victims of domestic abuse could not distance themselves from their abuser, safely contact the police for help or get support from family and friends. Police forces started to work differently, recognising that the absence of a call to the police does not imply absence of abuse and harm. Many forces adopted innovative new practices to check on the safety of victims of domestic abuse, finding new ways to ‘reach in’ to them rather than waiting for victims to ‘reach out’.

This review expands on the findings set out in the recent Policing in the pandemic report, highlighting good practice and innovation. HMICFRS have also made three recommendations aimed at ensuring forces continue to respond to the challenges of policing domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

This is the fifth in a series of thematic domestic abuse publications since the first HMICFRS report was published in March 2014, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse. This review looks at how the police responded to the unique challenges the COVID-19 pandemic placed on preventing and responding to domestic abuse.

The report can be viewed here.

In July 2020, HMICFRS announced their intention to inspect the police response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inspection took a snapshot of policing and assessed what happened from March to November 2020.

HMICFRS consulted many interested parties about the aspects of policing that our inspection should cover. The inspection focused on:

  • preparation for the pandemic;
  • overall leadership;
  • working with other organisations;
  • policing – workforce wellbeing, protecting people who are vulnerable, requests for service, investigating crime, enforcing coronavirus legislation (the Four Es approach – engage, explain, encourage, enforce); and
  • arrangements for keeping people in custody.

The report can be viewed here.

In March 2020, HMICFRS suspended all inspection work so that police forces and fire and rescue services could focus on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inspection took a snapshot of policing during the pandemic and looked at what happened from March to November 2020. The inspection assessed how policing:

  • understood and prepared for the potential and actual impact of the pandemic;
  • responded initially, and continues to respond, to the pandemic; and
  • is evaluating its response to the pandemic, establishing what is and is not working and using this to shape how the police service operates.

The HMICFRS report Policing in the pandemic: The police response to the COVID-19 pandemic was published in April 2021.

This report supplements the wider inspection with more detailed findings on how custody services operated in a COVID-19 environment. It aims to:

  • increase the police service’s national and local understanding of how custody services operate in a COVID-19 environment;
  • show how services have been/are affected and how police forces are responding; and
  • establish what improvements forces and the wider criminal justice system can make.

The report can be viewed here.

Over 35 years on from the introduction of stop and search legislation, HMICFRS has found that no force fully understands the impact of the use of these powers.

When the police use their powers disproportionately – in differing proportions on different ethnic groups – it causes suspicion among some communities that they are being unfairly targeted.

This can undermine police legitimacy, which is a fundamental aspect of the British model of policing by consent.

For some individuals, particularly those who describe their ethnicity as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, it can reinforce the perception that there is a culture of discrimination within the police.

Now that HMICFRS has some data on the police use of force, some similar concerns are also arising about this area of practice.

The report can be viewed here.

In this inspection, HMICFRS examined how effectively and efficiently the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) tackle the threat from serious and organised crime (SOC).

SOC remains one of the greatest problems for policing in the UK and overseas.

The last inspection HMICFRS report on ROCUs was published in 2015: Regional Organised Crime Units – A review of capability and effectiveness. Since then, the ROCU network has made substantial progress in some areas.

HMICFRS wanted to see how well ROCUs led the response to SOC while working with local police forces and other law enforcement agencies.

The Inspectorate found evidence of some good work, but also found some inconsistencies, and made six recommendations.

The report can be viewed here.

Many police forces across England and Wales collaborate with neighbouring forces to share resources and core functions. These collaborations were brought in to help forces create efficiencies and provide a better service for the public. However, nationally forces are spending over a quarter of a billion pounds on collaborations every year without achieving the desired results.

As part of the annual 2018/19 PEEL assessments, HMICFRS inspected the 43 forces in England and Wales. During the reporting process, the Inspectorate identified themes around force to force collaboration, and drew them together in this report. These findings were supplemented by six specific case studies, covering 27 forces.

The findings highlight some good practice and areas for improvement across four themes, as follows:

  • purpose;
  • benefits and cost analysis;
  • leadership and governance; and
  • skills and capabilities

HMICFRS also made two national recommendations.

The report can be viewed here.

Before 2013 there were sustained reductions in road deaths in England and Wales. Since  then the number of road deaths has levelled off and there are signs of an upturn. Yet, HMICFRS found that the importance of roads policing has been in decline for some years. There has been less enforcement of drink/drug driving and not wearing seatbelts, with an increase in deaths attributed to these offences.

Roads policing has evolved from ‘traffic officers’ who were mainly focused on enforcement of road traffic legislation, and dealing with road traffic collisions, to a wider concept of policing the roads. This includes the use of roads policing resources to target criminals who use the road network for their criminal purpose.

In this inspection, HMICFRS examined how effectively the road network of England and Wales is policed. HMICFRS sought to establish:

  • are national and local roads policing strategies effective?;
  • does capability and capacity match demand?;
  • do the police engage effectively with the public and partners?; and
  • how well police officers are trained to deal with roads policing matters?

HMICFRS made 13 recommendations to improve the effectiveness of roads policing in England and Wales.

The report can be viewed here.

PCC's response

The PCC's response can be viewed here.

The control room is one of the engine rooms of a police force. If it does not have the right systems and processes in place, the Force will not have an accurate picture of demand. This will affect its ability to respond to calls and investigate crimes effectively.

In this report, HMICFRS' findings highlight the challenges that the police service faces in handling calls with smaller budgets and fewer people. It finds that as the demand on control rooms increases, careful management is needed to make sure that the police service does not become overwhelmed.

The report can be viewed here.

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