A delegation of the COUNCIL OF EUROPE Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) has recently carried out a ten-day visit to the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man. The visit began in London on 8 September 1997.
The delegation met three Home Office Ministers: Mr Alun MICHAEL MP, Minister of State with responsibility for police matters, Ms Joyce QUIN MP, Minister of State with responsibility for prisons, and Lord WILLIAMS OF MOSTYN QC, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for human rights and for the Islands.
Matters examined during the visit included the efficacity of existing legal remedies in cases involving allegations of ill-treatment by police officers. In that connection, the delegation met Dame Barbara MILLS QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr John CARTWRIGHT, Deputy Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, and representatives of the Police Federation and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The visit also afforded an opportunity to review the measures being taken by the United Kingdom authorities to tackle the problem of overcrowding in prisons in England and Wales. In this respect, the delegation held discussions with Mr Richard TILT, Director General of HM Prison Service and with other senior officials from HM Prison Service.
On the occasion of the CPT's first visit to the Isle of Man, the delegation met Mr. Donald GELLING MHK, Chief Minister, Mr. Richard CORKILL MHK, Treasury Minister, Mr John SHIMMIN MHK, a Member of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Michael KERRUISH MLB, QC, Attorney General, and a number of senior Manx officials.
The delegation visited the following places of detention:
(Isle of Man)
(Isle of Man)
The members of the CPT's delegation were:
The delegation was assisted by Ms Odile DIAMANT-BERGER (Head of the Forensic Medical Emergency Service at the H˘tel-Dieu Hospital in Paris) (expert) as well as by two members of the CPT's Secretariat, Mr Trevor STEVENS (Secretary of the CPT) and Mr Mark KELLY.
The CPT was set up under the 1987 European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The following member States of the Council of Europe are bound by the Convention: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (as from 1 October 1997), Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The CPT is composed of persons from a variety of backgrounds: lawyers, medical doctors, prison experts, persons with parliamentary experience, etc. Its task is to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. For this purpose, it is entitled to visit any place where such persons are held by a public authority. It may formulate recommendations to strengthen, if necessary, their protection against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The CPT organises periodic visits as well as any other visits which appear to it to be required in the circumstances. In accordance with Article 11 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the information gathered by the CPT in relation to its visit to the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man, and its consultations with the United Kingdom and Manx authorities are confidential.
Further information may be obtained from:
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest European Organisation. Based in Strasbourg, France, it has 40 member countries and covers every policy area except defence. It is entirely separate from the European Union.