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Detainee collection point (DCP)

Definition A Detainee Collection Point (DCP) is a short-term holding facility used within military operations to temporarily house detainees immediately after capture. It is often located near the field of combat and serves as the initial processing point before transfer to a long-term detention facility. The function of a DCP includes keeping detainees secure, properly […]


A Detainee Collection Point (DCP) is a short-term holding facility used within military operations to temporarily house detainees immediately after capture. It is often located near the field of combat and serves as the initial processing point before transfer to a long-term detention facility. The function of a DCP includes keeping detainees secure, properly treating them according to international standards, and often involves initial intelligence gathering.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Detainee Collection Point (DCP) refers to a secure location, specifically set up by military forces, where people arrested or detained during military operations are initially brought for processing and temporary hold.
  2. A DCP is designed with the aim to ensure the secure and humane treatment of all detainees in accordance with international humanitarian law. It provides the necessary care and protection to detainees, including adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care.
  3. The categorization, interrogation, and documentation of detainees are generally conducted at the DCP before transferring them to a more permanent detention facility. This helps in maintaining records, investigation processes, and proper management of detainees’ information.


The term Detainee Collection Point (DCP) is significant in military operations because it denotes the initial area where individuals taken into custody on the battleground are temporarily held before being transported to a more secure and permanent detention facility.

The essence of the DCP lies in the maintenance of order, the procurement of vital intelligence, and the upholding of human rights.

The DCP must be managed efficiently and humanely to ensure the safety and well-being of both detainees and military personnel, while also ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law.

The protocols followed at a DCP can greatly impact the perception and reputation of the detaining forces and shape the course of the larger conflict, thereby underlining its importance in military logistics.


A Detainee Collection Point, or DCP, serves a crucial purpose within military operations as a temporary holding zone for detainees. These include individuals who have been captured during combat or other military activities, and may be enemy combatants, non-combatants, or even prisoners of war. The primary aim of a DCP is to consolidate and hold these detainees in a secure manner, ensuring both the safety of the holding forces and the detainees themselves.

Structures such as fences, tents or even existing buildings may be used to form a DCP, with military personnel responsible for the safety and security of these facilities. Furthermore, the DCP serves as a critical first step in the detainee management process. At the DCP, initial records of detainees are created, which include basic demographic information as well as the circumstances of their capture.

It’s also the site for initial screenings and interrogations, a process that is necessary for the military to acquire vital intelligence that could impact ongoing or future military operations. After detainee processing at the DCP, individuals are then transported to a more permanent detention facility where they may be held for further questioning or until hostilities cease. Thus, a DCP is an essential part of efficient and safe detainee management during military operations.

Examples of Detainee collection point (DCP)

Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Cuba: This is perhaps the most notorious example of a Detainee Collection Point (DCP). Operated by the United States, it began detaining suspects from the War on Terror in

It has been a subject of controversy due to allegations of human rights abuses.

Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq: During the Iraq War, US forces utilized the Abu Ghraib prison as a DCP. The prison gained international attention in 2004 when reports and images of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of prisoners conducted by US military personnel became public.

Australian-run Offshore Detention Centres: The Australian Government operates offshore processing centers on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. These facilities have been criticized due to the conditions under which detainees are held and the length of their internment. Remember, DCPs could also exist in a temporary or ad-hoc manner in conflict zones or during military operations, for collecting detainees prior to their processing or routing to longer-term detention facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions about Detainee Collection Point (DCP)

What is a Detainee Collection Point (DCP)?

A Detainee Collection Point (DCP) is a temporary holding facility where detainees captured on a battlefield are gathered for initial processing.

What’s the main function of a DCP?

The main function of a DCP is to centralize and organize the collection of detainees before they are relocated to a more secure long-term detention facility.

Who is responsible for managing a DCP?

Usually, a military police unit is responsible for the management and security of a Detainee Collection Point. They are in charge of maintaining order and ensuring the safety and humane treatment of all detainees.

What are the typical facilities at a DCP?

A typical DCP may contain areas for identification, medical screenings, security checks, and temporary detainment. All these facilities are established in accordance with the rules of international humanitarian laws to ensure the human rights of detainees.

Why is a DCP necessary in military operations?

A DCP is necessary to facilitate swift and humane management of detainees during military operations. It helps prevent escape attempts, maintains order, and ensures all detainees receive necessary care and attention.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Prisoner of War (POW)
  • Veteran’s Compensation for Service-Connected Disabilities
  • Military Detainee Processing
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Benefits
  • War-time Detention

Sources for More Information

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff: Official website of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military advisers within the Department of Defense.
  • Department of Defense (DoD): The official website of the Department of Defense, the U.S. government’s largest and most important military and executive department.
  • U.S. Department of State: The Department provides information about international rights issues, including the treatment of detainees.
  • International Committee of the Red Cross: An international organization that provides humanitarian aid and protection, and also monitors compliance with international laws regarding treatment of war detainees.

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