National Preventive Mechanism
OPCAT and the UK’s 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 designated 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, immigration detention centres, children’s secure accommodation and mental health institutions. The NPM is coordinated by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
Further information about the UK’s NPM can be obtained from the NPM Coordinator.
For further information about the members of the NPM, please visit their individual websites:
Members of the UK NPM
England and Wales
- HM Inspectorate of Prisons
- Independent Monitoring Boards
- Independent Custody Visiting Association
- HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
- Care Quality Commission
- Healthcare Inspectorate Wales
- Children’s Commissioner for England
- Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
- Office for Standards in Education
- Lay Observers
- HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland
- HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland
- Scottish Human Rights Commission
- Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
- Care Inspectorate
- Independent Custody Visitors Scotland
- Independent Monitoring Boards (Northern Ireland)
- Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland
- Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority
- Northern Ireland Policing Board Independent Custody Visiting Scheme