• March 13, 2015


The Celtic League has asked the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to consider extending the range of facilities it inspects in the United Kingdom to include the Civil Nuclear Police (CNC).

The CNC has responsibility for 16 nuclear facilities across Britain and can detain suspects within a fixed radius of these sites.

The CPT which is a Council of Europe (CoE) body already carries out inspections of nearly all UK prisons and police services. It also visits other centres (such as immigration holding centres) where persons may be detained.

As far as the Celtic League are aware the CNC has to date not been subject to assessment via the CPT which applies its ‘Standards’ criteria to detention facilities across all 47 members States of the CoE .

The full text of the League’s letter is set out below:

“CPT Secretariat
Council of Europe
F67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Dear Sir,

I note that the Committee have been undertaking examinations of prison, police stations and other facilities in the United Kingdom (and its dependencies) since 1990.

During this period there has been a qualitative improvement in the manner in which these facilities function. This is evidenced by your successive reports.

We note also that the Committee has extended the scope of its visits to include virtually all areas in the United Kingdom which fall with the broad remit of the CPT.

From scrutiny of your reports the one area (as far as we are aware) we note which has not been subject to CPT scrutiny is the Civil Nuclear Police which is special police force (whose functions are overseen by the Civil Nuclear Police Authority) which operates from across the United Kingdom, including sites in England and Wales.

Because of the nature of its work most of its Officers are trained in the use of and deployed with firearms.

The force has a responsibility for security at nuclear sites (and nuclear materials in transit) within a security perimeter of 5 km from the relevant plant (or transit mode).

Necessarily it has the authority to arrest and detain persons it believes are acting suspiciously or are in breach of regulation at these sites. It is unclear from the information we have sourced what holding facilities it has at its various fixed locations or indeed if it uses mobile cell facilities sourced from private UK security firms (in this last respect an FOI request – not from the Celtic League – received an inconclusive answer; see link)


Indeed from the detail about FOI requests on the CNC website many seem to elicit the stock response:

‘I hereby confirm that the CNC/CNPA does not hold information of the type specified.’

The Celtic League did query the United Kingdom constabulary inspectorate (HMI England and Wales) about allegations of indiscipline in the CNC some years ago (see link):


Unfortunately the reply from HMI was not very illuminating which is strange given that there is considerable detail available in other reports they compile of UK police forces (see link).


I hope that the Committee will give consideration to examining facilities and procedures used when persons are detained by the CNC to ensure that these comply with the CPT standards.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”

Related link:


J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

Internet site at:



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