How we work

HSE is the enforcing authority for the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and the Regulations made under it with regard to the activities of the Police.

HSE's mission is the prevention of death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities.

HSE operational inspectors

HSE has a number of operational inspectors and visiting staff who target their inspections on areas of greatest risk. Inspection methods include:

  • On-site visits (announced and unannounced)
  • Investigation of accidents and complaints
  • Providing guidance and support at visits, by phone or at events
  • Enforcement where necessary

Inspectors work from their geographical offices: Find your nearest office

HSE Sectors

In addition to operational inspectors, HSE has a number of specialist Sectors based around the country, each of them dealing with different major industries at national level. These Sectors:

  • set operational policy
  • work with other Government departments, regulators and police organisations
  • advise operational staff on inspection priorities
  • gather intelligence about the health and safety performance of the industry

Public Services Sector

The Public Services Sector (PSS) has national policy responsibility for all central government departments, their agencies and those services delivered by other organisations on their behalf. The PSS includes defence and public protection, health and social care, and education, in England, Scotland and Wales. The Defence and Public Protection Unit take the lead for HSE in discussion with police stakeholders. It sets HSE's operational policy and advises operational staff on the inspection priorities in the police service.

Police Service

HSE works with police leaders across GB to ensure that significant health and safety risks from operational activities are managed effectively by integrating health and safety considerations into operational decision making and risk management.

HSE has worked closely with police leaders to address unfounded concerns that health and safety law prevents delivery of an effective emergency service. As a result a high level statement of principles has been published setting out how HSE will apply health and safety law to the operational circumstances of the Police. It is underpinned by practical guidance in an accompanying explanatory note which recognises that the police need to consider complex and competing legal and moral demands and to make tough decisions in what are often extremely dangerous, emotionally-charged and fast-moving situations. It makes clear that the police service is expected to manage all foreseeable risk effectively and review their operational procedures in the light of experience. It also sets out HSE's position in relation to acts of heroism by individual police officers.

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Updated 2021-04-30