HMIC gives his final State of Policing report

Sir Tom Winsor has highlighted the imperative to rebuild public trust in his final report on the state of policing in England and Wales.

With his appointment as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary due to conclude on 31 March, his annual report covering 2021 also takes in a 10-year perspective covering his time in the role.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Online crime is now by far the most prevalent type of crime; fraud has exploded, eclipsing all other crimes in volume;
  • Total demand and public expectations cannot be met without sufficient funding and the public must decide how much threat, harm and risk they are prepared to tolerate; 
  • The rapid advancement of technology has provided opportunities for both criminals and the police, but policing has struggled to keep pace;
  • The load placed on the police by the chronically insufficient public provision of treatment of mental ill health is unjustified;
  • The need for improved vetting of officers and staff;
  • The 43-force model, born in 1962, is no longer fit for purpose.

Sir Tom notes that policing is unique in investing the greatest amount of its executive power in its lowest ranks. The individual responsibility of the police officer is more onerous than any comparable profession, the inspector noted.



He praised the strong, pragmatic, can-do attitude of rank-and-file officers during his 10 years and said the public should be reassured by this commendable aspect of police culture. And he said that this extends to the families of police officers and the major sacrifices they make to support their partners, sons and daughters who serve.

Sir Tom said the infrastructure around the constable must be designed and attuned to their needs, and he said the criminal justice system and wider protective service needed to cooperate with policing more than currently.

“Each service must fully and properly discharge its responsibilities, rather than abdicate them at the expense of the one public service which will never say no,” said Sir Tom.

He added: “In this and so many other respects, police and crime commissioners have a very significant part to play.”

Read the full report.