Who We Are
About Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary
Next to the Home Office, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary – established in 1856 – is the senior institution in the policing landscape, as it oversees, inspects and reports upon the efficiency and effectiveness of all Home Office police forces and a number of others. Current inspections include assessments of undercover policing, and of the police’s response to domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary, including Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, under section 54 of the Police Act 1996. As independent holders of public office under the Crown, appointed under Royal Warrant, they are neither civil servants nor police officers.
For many years, Inspectors of Constabulary were appointed from the pool of former chief constables. All Inspectors from a policing background stop being warranted officers when they take up their posts with HMIC.
In 1993, the first full-time Inspectors of Constabulary who had not previously served as police officers were appointed. Today, two of the Inspectors of Constabulary – Roger Baker QPM and Stephen Otter QPM – are former chief constables; Zoë Billingham was previously director of community safety and sustainability at the Audit Commission; and Drusilla Sharpling CBE was Chief Crown Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in London.
In 2012, Thomas Winsor was appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He is the first holder of that role to come from a non-policing background.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary
In October 2012, Thomas Winsor was appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He is the first holder of that role to come from a non-policing background. Born in Dundee, Mr Winsor studied law at the University of Edinburgh. He worked for law firms in Edinburgh and London between 1979 and 1999, a period which included a two-year secondment (from 1983 until 1985) to the Government Legal Service as chief legal adviser and general counsel to the first Rail Regulator, John Swift QC.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary
Roger Baker, QPM
Roger Baker began his career with Derbyshire Constabulary in 1977, progressing through the ranks via a number of uniform and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) roles to Chief Superintendent. He has also been Staff Officer to the National Director of Police Training and to the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
A qualified lawyer, Zoë Billingham has worked in public sector regulation for the last nine years, latterly as the lead inspector for the fire and rescue service in England. While at the Audit Commission, she led the neighbourhood policing work stream in Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s Independent Review of Policing.
Stephen Otter, QPM
Stephen started his police career in 1982 in Thames Valley Police before moving to the Royal Hong Kong Police as an inspector – where he led teams in CID and ‘vice’ – tackling the unlawful sex trade and drugs supply. He then spent 13 years in the Metropolitan Police Service where his career ranged across operational postings in central London, leadership roles at large scale public order events and strategic roles at New Scotland Yard, leaving the force at the rank of Commander.
Dru Sharpling, CBE
In 1997, Dru, a barrister, was appointed Chief Crown Prosecutor for Central Casework in the Crown Prosecution Service, the forerunner of the Casework Directorate. This role involved dealing with serious and sensitive cases, including substantial fraud, terrorism, breaches of the Official Secrets Act, extradition and confiscation.