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 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.

This inspection into Sussex is one of a series on police custody inspections carried out jointly by HMICFRS and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP).

The unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Sussex took place between 4 and 15 November 2019.

The inspection programme looks at strategy, treatment and conditions, individual rights and health care.

It also contributes to the UK’s response to its international obligation to ensure regular and independent inspection of all places of detention.

The report can be viewed here.

PCC's response

The PCC's response can be viewed here.

In 2014, HMICFRS began a national programme of child protection inspections. The purpose of these inspections were to examine the effectiveness of the decisions made by the police at each stage of their interactions with or for children, from initial contact through to the investigation of offences against them. HMICFRS also scrutinised the treatment of children in custody, and assessed how forces are structured, led and governed, in relation to their child protection services.

In 2015, HMICFRS published their first thematic report which summarised the findings of the first eight of these inspections along with the findings of a further 13 inspections that were undertaken either alone or with other agencies, and which had a child protection theme. This report can be viewed here.

Since then, HMICFRS has:

  • undertaken a further 17 child protection inspections of individual forces;
  • completed 21 reviews of forces to assess their progress against the recommendations made during the initial child protection inspections;
  • along with Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation launched the joint targeted area inspections (JTAI) of child protection. These short, focused inspections consider the effectiveness of statutory partnership arrangements for the protection of children. Since 2016, HMICFRS has published 26 reports about our findings from these inspections.

Together, these reports provide a powerful analysis of how well police forces serve the needs of vulnerable children. This report aims to build on the findings of the previous report by exploring the key themes identified by the evidence we have gathered from all 64 inspections, and considers the ways in which the police service, its safeguarding partners and the government need to adapt and respond in order to meet the challenges they face.

The report can be viewed here.

PCC's response

The PCC's response can be viewed here.

The Police Effectiveness Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) inspection is HMICFRS’ annual assessment of police forces in England and Wales.

In 2018/19, HMICFRS adopted an integrated approach to the existing PEEL inspections, combining the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy areas of PEEL into a single inspection. These areas had previously been inspected separately each year.

The PEEL report comprises of four areas:

  1. Overall narrative assessment of the Force’s 2018/19 performance;
  2. Judgments and summaries of how effectively, efficiently and legitimately the Force keeps people safe and reduces crime;
  3. Judgments and any areas for improvement, causes of concern and notable practice for each component of the inspection;
  4. Detailed findings for each component.

The Sussex report can be viewed here.

PCC's response

The PCC's response can be viewed here.

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