National Preventive Mechanism

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is an international human rights treaty designed to strengthen protection for people deprived of their liberty. It recognises that such people are particularly vulnerable and aims to prevent their ill-treatment through establishing a system of visits or inspections to all places of detention.

OPCAT requires that States designate a ‘national preventive mechanism’ (NPM) to carry out visits to places of detention, to monitor the treatment of and conditions for detainees and to make recommendations regarding the prevention of ill-treatment.

The UK ratified OPCAT in December 2003 and designed its NPM in March 2009. The UK’s NPM is currently made up of 20 visiting or inspecting bodies who visit places of detention such as prisons, police custody and immigration detention centres. The NPM is coordinated by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP). HMIC works with HMIP to jointly inspect police custody facilities.

For more information and a full list of the members of the UK NPM please visit the NPM website (external link).

Annual reports

Monitoring places of detention: Sixth annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015

Monitoring places of detention: Fifth annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014

Monitoring places of detention: Fourth annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013

Monitoring places of detention: Third annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012

Monitoring places of detention: Second annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011

Monitoring places of detention: First annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010