National preventive mechanism
The Committee is concerned that while each of the 21 bodies that are members of
the United Kingdom National Preventive Mechanism operate under their own statutory
provisions, the Mechanism itself is not provided for in legislation and the legislation
creating many of the member bodies does not refer to their mandate under the Mechanism.
The Committee also remains concerned that the absence of legislation impedes the
Mechanism’s independence, notwithstanding action taken by the Mechanism to reduce its
members’ reliance on staff seconded from places of deprivation of liberty. Although the
State party indicates that it will provide additional funds for the operation of the
Mechanism, the Committee remains seriously concerned that the resources provided to it,
particularly for its secretariat, are clearly inadequate, principally in view of the
Mechanism’s complex institutional arrangements (art. 2).
The State party should clearly set out in legislation the mandate and powers of
the secretariat and members of the National Preventive Mechanism and guarantee
their operational independence. It should ensure effective follow-up to and
implementation of the Mechanism’s recommendations, in accordance with the
guidelines on national preventive mechanisms of the Subcommittee on Prevention of
Torture and Other, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(CAT/OP/12/5, paras. 6–8). The State party should also guarantee that the
Mechanism’s secretariat and member bodies receive sufficient resources to discharge
their prevention mandate independently and effectively.
Sexual abuse of children in detention
The Committee is seriously concerned that, in a February 2019 report, the
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found that 1,070 alleged incidents of child
sexual abuse had taken place in the youth custodial estate in England and Wales between
2009 and 2017, despite the significant drop in the number of detained children during that
time. The Committee is also seriously concerned that complaints have rarely been
investigated, as well as by the lack of information provided by the State party on how many
of the allegations have been made the subject of an independent criminal investigation, the
outcome of any such investigation and whether the State party has taken measures to ensure
that victims of such abuse obtain redress, including rehabilitation (arts. 11–13 and 16).

The State party should:

Ensure that all cases of violence, especially sexual assault, against
children in detention, including those documented by the Independent Inquiry into
Child Sexual Abuse, are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated, that
substantiated allegations result in the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators
with appropriate sanctions, and that victims receive adequate redress;
Establish effective inspection and complaints mechanisms that are
genuinely accessible to children in detention, and maintain effective monitoring;
Ensure that judges, prosecutors and members of the police receive
specialized training in preventing the abuse of children in detention and in dealing
with claims of such abuse.
Conditions of detention
While appreciating the measures adopted by the State party to replace ageing prisons
with a new penitentiary infrastructure, especially in England and Wales, as well as the
efforts to reduce the use of short-term imprisonment in Scotland and Northern Ireland by
making use of alternatives to custody, the Committee is concerned about overcrowding and
poor conditions in some prisons holding male offenders in England and Wales. It also notes
that the delegation acknowledged the overrepresentation of minority ethnic people in both
the male and female prison population in England and Wales, and appreciates the
information on the measures envisaged to tackle racial disparities in the criminal justice
system. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about reports of a high incidence of interprisoner violence in penitentiary institutions. In that regard, the Committee welcomes the


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