High-risk offenders supervised by untrained probation staff

High-risk offenders are being supervised by probation staff without formal training because of “acute resource problems” in the service, the chair of the probation officers’ union said today.

Mike McClelland told Napo’s annual conference the probation service currently had over 1,000 vacancies, including a total shortfall of 150 probation officers in London alone.
He said that an overspend of £40 million at the National Offender Management Service had led to cutbacks in programmes for sex offenders and perpetrators of domestic violence.

McClelland also said that a bill to underpin plans to put failing probation services out to competition from voluntary and private sector organisations was expected in the Queen’s speech in November.

He said: “The supervision of the most difficult and most dangerous offenders will be determined by market forces and by profit.”

Labour MP John O’Donnell, chair of the justice unions parliamentary group, pledged “a trench warfare” over the bill.

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