HMIP Detention Monitoring Methodology: A Briefing Paper

12 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2018

See all articles by Hindpal Singh Bhui

Hindpal Singh Bhui

University of Hertfordshire - School of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies

Date Written: 2018


This briefing paper is one of a series written as part of an ESRC-IAA funded project on immigration detention and human rights-based monitoring of detention in Greece and Turkey. The project initially looked at these issues in four countries - Greece, Turkey, Hungary and Italy (Bhui, Bosworth and Fili, 2018). This paper outlines the methodology used by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), which inspects places of confinement in the UK, including prisons, police and court custody, and military detention. HMIP has been routinely monitoring immigration detention since 2004 (see Bhui 2017). As well as sites of immigration detention HMIP inspects the process of removal by accompanying flights to destination countries. HMIP, which was established in its modern form in 1982, is part of the UK National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). As such, under the terms of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), it has functional independence and a separate budget. It appoints its own staff and designs its own methodology. HMIP may request information necessary to perform its role, such as numbers of people detained and should be kept informed of locations of all sites of detention. During inspection visits, team members have unhindered, private access to detainees and to staff. Reports of the inspections are usually published within 3-4 months and an annual report is laid before Parliament.

Keywords: research project, torture, immigration detention, human rights, monitoring, HMIP

Suggested Citation

Bhui, Hindpal Singh, HMIP Detention Monitoring Methodology: A Briefing Paper (2018). Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 3299536, Available at SSRN:

Hindpal Singh Bhui (Contact Author)

University of Hertfordshire - School of Law ( email )

Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB
United Kingdom


University of Oxford - Border Criminologies ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

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