Tilbage Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the United Kingdom

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a periodic visit to the United Kingdom from 8 to 21 June 2021. This was the CPT’s ninth periodic visit to the country.
Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the United Kingdom

In the course of the visit, the delegation examined the treatment of persons held in prisons in England. Particular attention was paid to the impact of the restrictions imposed in the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, safety and violence in prisons, situation of female prisoners and the conditions in segregation units in the various prisons visited. The delegation also visited a Close Supervision Centre (CSC) and Separation Centre (SC).

In addition, the delegation examined the treatment, living conditions and legal safeguards offered to patients, including children and adolescents, held in several psychiatric establishments. Special attention was paid to the use of means of restraint and seclusion of patients in all the hospitals visited. The delegation also visited several police establishments, with a view to reviewing the treatment of and safeguards afforded to persons deprived of their liberty by the police.

At the end of the visit, the CPT’s delegation presented its preliminary observations to Robert Buckland, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and Nadine Dorries, Minister for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety, as well as Alex Chalk and David Wolfson, Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State in the Ministry of Justice.

It also held consultations with Jo Farrar, Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Chief Executive Officer, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), Phil Copple, Director-General HMPPS and Nev Kemp, Deputy Chief Constable, Surrey Police and a representative of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), as well as other senior officials from the Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Department of Health and Social Security, NHS England and HMPSS.

In addition, the delegation met John Wadham, Chair of the National Preventive Mechanism against torture (NPM), Charlie Taylor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, Chair of Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs), Kevin Cleary, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Elizabeth Moody, the Deputy Ombudsman for Fatal Incidents at the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). It also held a round table with several non-governmental organisations active in areas of concern to the CPT.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

  • Mark Kelly, Head of Delegation
  • Per Granström
  • Kristina Pardalos
  • Vytautas Raškauskas
  • Arman Tatoyan.

They were supported by Natacha De Roeck, Petr Hnátík and Sebastian Rietz of the CPT’s Secretariat and assisted by two experts, Birgit Völlm, Professor in Forensic Psychiatry, Medical Director of the Forensic Hospital at the University of Rostock, Germany, and Olivera Vulić, psychiatrist, former Chief of the Centre for Mental Health in Podgorica, Montenegro.

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Police establishments

  • Durham City Police Station
  • Forth Banks Police Station, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Hammersmith Police Station, London
  • Shepcote Lane Police Station, Sheffield
  • Wood Green Police Station, London

Prison establishments

  • HMP and YOI Bronzefield
  • HMP Wormwood Scrubs
  • HMP Durham
  • HMP Woodhill

Psychiatric establishments

  • Priory Hospital Enfield, London
  • Bamburgh Clinic, St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle-upon Tyne
  • Alnwood Unit, St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Cygnet Hospital, Sheffield
  • St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton.
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