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Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for England and Wales (HMIC) has statutory responsibility for the inspection of the police forces of England and Wales. HMIC is headed by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

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 1
  • Northern Ireland 2
  • List of Chief Inspectors 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

England and Wales

In England and Wales, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary 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, HMIC'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.

The Inspectorate reports on the activities of the territorial forces of England and Wales and other bodies involved in law enforcement, such as the Serious Organised 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, HMIC 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.[2]

In addition to the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, there are four Inspectors of Constabulary: Mike Cunningham (formerly Chief Constable of Staffordshire); Zoe Billingham (formerly a senior official in the Cabinet Office); Stephen Otter (formerly Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall); and Drusilla Sharpling (formerly Chief Crown Prosecutor for London).

Northern Ireland

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.[3]

List of Chief Inspectors

The first Chief Inspector was appointed in 1962.[4]

  • Sir William Johnson, 1962-1963
  • Sir Edward Dodd, 1963-1966
  • Colonel Sir Eric St Johnston, 1967-1970
  • Sir John MacKay, 1970-1972
  • Sir John Hill, 1972-1975
  • Sir James Haughton, 1976-1977
  • Sir Colin Woods, 1977-1979
  • Sir James Crane, 1979-1982
  • Sir Lawrence Byford, 1983-1987
  • Sir Richard Barrett, 1987-1990
  • Sir John Woodcock, 1990-1993
  • Sir Trefor Morris, 1993-1996
  • Sir David O'Dowd, 1996 to 2001
  • Sir Keith Povey, 2002 to 2005
  • Sir Ronnie Flanagan, 2005 to 2009
  • Sir Denis O'Connor, 2009 to 2012
  • Sir Thomas Winsor, 2012 to present


  1. ^ Home Office | HMI Constabulary - Home Page
  2. ^ "Tom Winsor picked as top candidate for senior police role". BBC News. 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  3. ^ "#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. 
  4. ^ "HMIC website". 

External links

  • Official website
  • Text of the Police Act 1996 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
  • Text of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
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