Strasbourg, 05.12.2008 - A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) recently carried out a two-week visit to the United Kingdom. The visit, which began on 18 November 2008, was the CPT’s sixth periodic visit to that country.
During the visit, the delegation focused its attention on the conditions of detention and the treatment of persons in three “local” prisons, two of which are in the High Security Estate, and in a juvenile detention facility in England. The delegation also visited Northern Ireland to examine developments there since its last visit in 1999, particularly as concerns the situation in the two prisons for male adults. The safeguards afforded to persons deprived of their liberty by the police were also examined in both England and Northern Ireland. Finally, the delegation examined issues relating to persons held under immigration legislation and an immigration removal centre was visited.
In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation held consultations with the Home Secretary Jacqui SMITH, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice , Jack STRAW, the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Paul GOGGINS, and the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Justice, Shahid MALIK, as well as with the Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency, Lin HOMER, and other senior officials from the Home Office, Northern Ireland Office, Youth Justice Board and National Offender Management Service for England and Wales.
In respect of England and Wales, the delegation also met the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne OWERS, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Stephen SHAW and one of the Independent Police Complaints Commissioners, Mike FRANKLIN.
In Northern Ireland, the delegation met senior officials from the Police Service and the Prison Service, as well as with the Police Ombudsman, Al HUTCHINSON, the Prison Ombudsman, Pauline McCABE, and the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Monica McWILLIAMS.
Further, it held discussions in London and Belfast with representatives of non-governmental organisations active in areas of concern to the CPT.
At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the United Kingdom.
The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:
- Aleš BUTALA, Head of delegation
- Celso MANATA
- Antonius Van KALMTHOUT
- Arman VARDANYAN
- Olivera VULIĆ
They were supported by Hugh CHETWYND (Head of Division), Marco LEIDEKKER and Stephanie MEGIES of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Eric DURAND, medical doctor, former Head of medical services at Fleury-Mérogis Prison, France, (expert), and Michael LEVY, Head of Corrections Health, Australian Capital Terrorities (expert).
The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:
England and Wales
Greater Manchester Police
- Longsight Police Station
- West Didsbury Police Station
- Swinton Police Station, Salford
- Charing Cross Police Station
- Paddington Green Police Station
- Walworth Police Station
Thames Valley Police
- Reading Police Station
- HMP Manchester
- HMP Wandsworth
- HMP Woodhill
- HM Huntercombe Young Offender Institution
Immigration Removal Centres
- Harmondsworth IRC
- Antrim Police Station
- Ballymena Police Station
- Musgrave Street Police Station, Belfast
- Strandtown Police Station, Belfast
- Coleraine Police Station
- Limavady Police Station
- Londonderry Police Station
- Maghaberry Prison
- Magilligan Prison