National Preventive Mechanism

National Preventive Mechanism

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 18 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.

Each year, the NPM publishes a report of its activities. Read the annual reports of the UK's NPM below:

Monitoring places of detention: First annual report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2009-31 March 2010 (PDF 1.00mb)

Monitoring places of detention: Second annual report of the United Kingdom's National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2010-31 March 2011 (PDF 1.30mb)

Monitoring places of detention: Third annual report of the United Kingdom's National Preventive Mechanism 1 April 2011-31 March 2012 (PDF 2mb)

Monitro mannau cadw: Trydydd Adroddiad Blynyddol Mecanwaith Atal Canedlaethol y Deyrnas Unedig 1 Ebrill 2011-31 Mawrth 2012 (PDF 0.79mb)

Monitoring places of detention: Fourth Annual Report of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism 2012–13 (PDF 5mb) 

NPM consultation responses 

Response to the Ministry of Justice Consultation 'Transforming Youth Custody' (April 2013) (PDF 0.33mb)

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


Northern Ireland


Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture
UK NPM Database


HM Inspectorate of Prisons


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