HM Inspector Wendy Williams to leave HMICFRS after nine years

HM Inspector Wendy Williams has announced she is to leave His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) after nine years.

Mar 28, 2024
By Paul Jacques
HM Inspector Wendy Williams

She said it has been “immensely rewarding” to observe the progress the policing and fire and rescue sectors have made in addressing some pivotal issues.

Ms Williams said she was “proud” to have been a part of the organisation since 2015.

“Throughout my time at HMICFRS, I have been fortunate to have worked closely with colleagues across our inspected sectors of policing and fire and rescue as they have made positive, sustainable changes for the better,” she said.

“None of this would have been possible without our dedicated staff, to whom I am truly thankful. Their unwavering commitment to supporting police forces and fire and rescue services to improve, and their passion for ensuring our work is always of the highest standard, has been inspiring.

“During my time at HMICFRS, I have had the privilege of leading inspections which have addressed critical issues within policing and fire – not only within the Wales and West of England region, for which I was responsible, but also nationally.

“My work has focused on how HMICFRS can work with other criminal justice inspectorates to improve the whole system.”

Ms Williams said she has taken a particular interest in improving the criminal justice response to vulnerable people.

“We have seen improvements in law enforcement responses to both stalking and combating modern slavery, with enhanced victim support services and increased accountability for perpetrators,” she said.

“Our inspections into the police response to rape called for better communication with victims, enhanced training, and a heightened focus on victim support.

“We have seen improvements in this area through Operation Soteria, a collaborative police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) programme, which brings together police forces with academics and policy leads to use evidence and new insight.

“There has also been notable progress towards fairness, proportionality and transparency in stop and search.

“And our inspections into child sexual exploitation have led to strengthened prevention strategies, improved coordination among agencies and better support for victims.”

Ms Williams said not only have these inspections “driven progress in making key reforms”, but they have also shone a light on the voices of those affected.

“I am thankful to those who have shared their experiences to support our inspections, and to the organisations who work alongside the inspectorate to provide ongoing scrutiny,” she said.

“While it has been immensely rewarding to observe the progress the policing and fire and rescue sectors have made in addressing some of these pivotal issues, there is still much more work to be done.

“I therefore look forward to seeing the inspectorate continue to have a positive impact on making communities safer.”

Ms Williams, a solicitor, was a partner in a defence firm before joining HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI). In 2003 she joined the CPS as the Legal Director of the CPS London North Sector before becoming the Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Northumbria and the North East Region.

In 2015, she was appointed as HM Inspector at HMIC (now HMICFRS) with responsibility for 13 police forces across Wales and the West of England and 11 fire and rescue services in the West of England.

She is the senior responsible officer for HMICFRS’s Criminal Justice Joint Inspections portfolio and the rolling programme of custody inspections, which involves working with other criminal justice inspectorates, such as HM Inspectorate of Probation, HMCPSI, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and the equivalent Welsh inspectorates, across a range of criminal justice issues.

Ms Williams is the author of the independent Windrush Lessons Learned Review into the Home Office and its handling of events leading up to what became known as the Windrush scandal. This was presented to Parliament in 2020.

More recently, the Home Secretary invited Ms Williams back to consider the progress made by the department in implementing her 30 recommendations, and her Windrush Lessons Learned Review Progress Update was published in 2022.

In 2020, she was appointed as a non-executive director of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and in 2023 joined the Advisory Board for the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, as well as the Oxford and Cambridge Universities’ Close the Gap Advisory Board. She was also appointed as a Commissioner for the Institute for Government’s Commission on the centre of government.

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