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NPM raises concerns about systemic issues in UK detention 

Decorative image: Cover of NPM 2022-23 annual report

The NPM has published its annual report for 2022-2023 in February 2024. The report summarises and analyses the work and findings of the 21 NPM members, and warns that governments across the UK have repeatedly failed to take meaningful action to alleviate human rights concerns where people are deprived of their liberty.  

Throughout the year, NPM members have highlighted how their repeated calls for improvements in prisons, police custody, immigration detention and mental health settings have not been carried forward by policy makers to resolve longstanding issues.  

Staff shortages and over-population in detention continue to impact access to meaningful educational and rehabilitative activities, access to health and mental health care, and adequate record keeping and learning from serious incidents, including deaths in custody. Members also raised concerns over unequal treatment and discrimination. In prisons, black, black prisoners continued to experience more use of force. In mental health settings, restrictive measures were more likely to be used against black people than other people.  

NPM Chair Wendy Sinclair-Gieben remarks, 

“Systemic issues remain unaddressed, and despite their best efforts, detention settings continue to face increasing safety concerns, poor conditions, poor mental health provision, and staff turnover. Without adequate investment from the UK and devolved governments to appropriately resource services, the recommendations and concerns expressed in reports will be impossible to fulfil.” 

States party to OPCAT “undertake to publish and disseminate” the annual reports of NPMs (OPCAT Article 20). In the UK, this usually takes the form of the report being laid in Parliament with a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS). A WMS puts the day-to-day business of government on the official record and in the public domain ( – link opens in new tab). Last year, the NPM made the decision to publish its Thirteenth Annual Report independently on its website, due to ongoing delays from UK Government. This year, similar delays have led to a later publication date, and publication without WMS.

You can find the annual report on our Publications page.