Probation changes welcomed

Police and Crime Commissioners from across the South West welcome the Government’s announcement that the supervision of thousands of offenders will return to the National Probation Service.

The five Police and Crime Commissioners serving Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and Swindon have been lobbying the Ministry of Justice for a change to the model following concerns and a series of critical reports.

The Ministry of Justice began partially privatising the probation service in 2013, which involved 21 'community rehabilitation companies'.

In February, the community rehabilitation company serving the South West, Working Links, went into administration. Dame Glenys Stacey, the Chief Inspector of Probation, in March described the partial privatisation model as 'irredeemably flawed'.

Responding to today's Government announcement, Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, said: “The decision to partially privatise this key public function was severely flawed, as demonstrated by the collapse of the Community Rehabilitation Company serving the South West earlier this year.

“My regional colleagues and I have argued for years that probation is far too important an issue to be placed into the hands of a network of private companies and I am glad the government has finally seen sense on this issue. We will now be working with the Ministry of Justice to make sure the service’s transition back into the public sector is as smooth as possible.”

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