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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the United Kingdom

Strasbourg, 3.10.2012 - 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 twelve-day visit to the United Kingdom. The visit, which began on 17 September 2012, was the CPT’s seventh periodic visit to that country.

During the visit, the delegation visited Scotland to examine developments there since its last visit in 2003, particularly as concerns the situation of female prisoners and adult males on remand. It also looked into the treatment and conditions of detention in several police stations and visited a medium-secure psychiatric clinic. Finally, the delegation examined issues relating to persons held under immigration legislation and visited two immigration removal centres in England.

In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation met with the Scottish Minister for External Affairs and International Development, Humza Yousaf, and held consultations with senior officials from the Scottish Government responsible for Justice and Health matters and from the Scottish Prison Service. It also met the Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, Hugh Munro, as well as representatives from the office of the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and non-governmental organisations.

In London, the delegation met officials from the Ministry of Justice and the United Kingdom Border Agency and held consultations with the Head of the United Kingdom National Preventive Mechanism and Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales, Nick Hardwick. It also met the Children’s Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson, and a number of non-governmental organisations active in the field of immigration issues.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the United Kingdom authorities.

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

- Yakın ERTÜRK, Head of delegation
- Andreana ESPOSITO
- Olivera VULIĆ

They were supported by Hugh CHETWYND (Head of Division) and Thobias BERGMANN of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Eric DURAND, medical doctor, former Head of medical services at Fleury-Mérogis Prison, France, (expert).

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

England and Wales

Immigration removal centres

- Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre (near Heathrow Airport)
- Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (near Gatwick Airport)



- Barlinnie Prison
- Cornton Vale Prison & Young Offenders Institution
- Edinburgh Prison
- Greenock Prison
- Kilmarnock Prison

Psychiatric establishments

- Rowanbank Clinic, Glasgow

Police stations

- Gayfield Square Police Station, Edinburgh
- St Leonards Police Station, Edinburgh
- Maryhill Police Station, Glasgow,
- Stewart Street Police Station, Glasgow
- Greenock Police Station, Strathclyde


- Glasgow Sheriff Court holding cells

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