The National Preventive Mechanism reveals for the first time how many people are detained in the UK

NPM infographicThe UK’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), of which Independent Monitoring Boards are a member, has revealed today that in excess of 124,000 people in the UK are detained on any given day in secure hospitals, prisons, immigration facilities, secure children’s homes, police cells and military prison. The actual number of people detained on any given day is likely to be much higher as it has not been possible to include data for a number of settings.

While a range of population data is available for specific detention settings, there is no collated data that provides an overview of detention across every setting in the four jurisdictions of the UK. This report brings together those figures for the first time and reveals some surprising gaps in the data.

It found that:

  • the throughput of individuals into police custody from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 was at least 1,220,391. It is not known how many of these were children;
  • an estimated 88,611 adults over the age of 21 were detained on 31 March 2016 or 1 April 2016 across the UK in adult prisons;
  • on 31 March or 1 April 2016 in England, Wales and Scotland there were 6,345 people aged 20 or under detained in youth custody. There were a further 155 under-21s detained in Northern Ireland;
  • there were 3,426 people held in both residential and non-residential immigration detention at the end of March 2016;
  • between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, there were 63,622 detention events under mental health legislation in England; and
  • between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, 76,530 applications for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards were granted in England.

These figures are published alongside the UK NPM’s seventh annual report, which also gives an overview of its work monitoring detention across the whole of the UK.

The NPM is made up of 20 independent organisations that monitor all prisons, police custody, immigration detention, secure mental hospitals, secure children’s homes and other forms of detention in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. NPM members work together to deliver the UK’s UN treaty obligations to prevent detainees being mistreated in custody.

Independent Monitoring Boards provide a weekly monitoring presence in every prison in England and Wales. They have a duty to inform the Secretary of State of any concern they have and to report annually to the Secretary of State on how well the establishment has met the standards and requirements placed on it and what impact these have on those in custody.