Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes reports on the Channel Islands

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the reports on its visit to the Channel Islands (Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey) in March 2010, together with the responses of the States of Guernsey and States of Jersey Governments. These documents have been made public at the request of the United Kingdom authorities.
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The CPT's delegation gathered no evidence of the ill-treatment of persons in police custody. However, in both Bailiwicks, a few allegations were received of excessive use of force at the time of arrest. The CPT comments in its reports that police officers need to be reminded regularly that no more force than is strictly necessary should be used when effecting an arrest.

Conditions of detention at the Police Headquarters in St. Peter Port, Guernsey, were on the whole adequate. In contrast, they were not satisfactory at the Police Headquarters in Rouge Bouillon, Jersey; in their response, the Jersey authorities refer to plans for a new police station which will incorporate a modern custody facility.

The CPT's delegation received no allegations of ill treatment of prisoners by staff at La Moye Prison in Jersey and, with one exception, the same was true of Guernsey Prison. Positive staff-prisoner relations were in evidence in both establishments.

Material conditions of detention were generally of a good standard in both Guernsey and La Moye Prisons. However, efforts should continue to be made to improve activities for prisoners, in particular those subject to the "standard" regime; in their responses, the authorities highlight the action being taken in this connection.

The CPT expresses concern about the current practice of holding juveniles (i.e. persons under the age of 18) in the two prisons. It emphasises that juveniles who have to be deprived of their liberty should be held in facilities specifically designed for persons of this age. The Committee recommends that for as long as juveniles continue to be held at Guernsey and La Moye Prisons, particular attention be paid to their education (including physical education) and to offering them a wide range of opportunities to develop their life skills. In their responses, the authorities recognise the drawbacks of the present situation and highlight efforts to overcome them.

In the light of the information gathered during the visit, the CPT also recommends that the Guernsey and Jersey authorities take the necessary steps to ensure that all prisoners suffering from a severe mental health disorder are cared for, without delay, in an adequately equipped hospital environment.

The CPT’s visit reports and the responses of the States of Jersey and the States of Guernsey are available in English on the CPT’s website:

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