Our Role

Our core role is summarised in our statement of purpose:

Through inspecting, monitoring and advising, to promote and advance improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of policing. We will do this independently, professionally and fairly, always championing the public interest, and we will explain what we do and why.

Inspecting policing in the public interest

The public want the police to succeed in their mission to keep people safe and secure. It is in the public interest that the quality of policing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland keeps improving.

At HMIC, we monitor and report on forces and policing activity with the aim of encouraging improvement.

By providing accessible information on the performance of forces, we allow their public, and peers, to see how they are doing. This will place pressure on those forces falling below average in aspects of policing to raise their game.

We will always try to see policing through the public’s eyes. We will use consumer ‘watchdog’ tactics, such as mystery shopping, and ask the public, in surveys, what they think about policing and where they want to see improvements.

Our reports will be clear, jargon-free and designed to be accessible, measured, objective, statistically reliable and authoritative.

We also continue to provide high-quality professional advice to police – using experienced officers and other experts, such as lawyers and accountants to identify the ‘best practice’ which all forces can aspire to. We will encourage operational excellence and, increasingly, a good deal for the public in terms of value for money.

We carry out many force inspections and regulatory visits each week, through our network of regional offices, and publish our findings on this website. Our reports on broad policing themes and specific subjects – from terrorism and serious organised crime to custody arrangements – can all be found in the publications section.

Much of our work relates to the mainstream police forces in England and Wales, together with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and British Transport Police. However, we also inspect other law enforcement agencies, including the Serious Organised Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

HMIC and the Public Sector Equality Duty

Our mission is to embed equality and diversity considerations in everything we do, whether it is in relation to our role of inspecting policing in the public interest, interactions and treatment of our staff or holding forces to account.

As a listed body, HMIC will, within all our inspections,  give consideration to inequality and, where identified, make recommendations to improve experiences in support of  the Public Sector Equality Duty. These recommendations can be found in our publications.