Swindon AdvertiserProbation officers set to strike again (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Probation officers set to strike again

Swindon Advertiser: Probation Officers against the privatisation of parts of the service. From left Albertine Davies, of the  National Association of Probation Officers, Marie West, Sharon Drew, Michelle James, Andy O’Pray and Kirsten Fenton Probation Officers against the privatisation of parts of the service. From left Albertine Davies, of the National Association of Probation Officers, Marie West, Sharon Drew, Michelle James, Andy O’Pray and Kirsten Fenton

PROBATION officers in Swindon have announced that they will join hundreds around the country protesting against proposals to privatise the system.

The National Association of Probation Officers announced on Wednesday that members will once again stop work for 24 hours from noon on March 31 to protest against plans to change the system.

The controversial changes will see 70 per cent of offenders outsourced to the private and charitable sector.

After the changes come into effect only the 30 per cent of offenders who are most at risk of serious re-offending will continue to be seen by the remaining centrally-run public sector arm of the service, known as the National Probation Service, About 35 local probation trusts will shut and be replaced by 21 rehabilitation companies run under Government contracts by private companies and voluntary groups known as the Community Rehabilitation Company.

But Napo officials say the changes are recklessly dangerous, putting both offenders and members of the public at risk.

Albertine Davies, the secretary for the Napo in Swindon, said: “It is a matter of life or death. “We supervise the most dangerous people in our community. “Corners will be taken if people are trying to boost their profit margins for their share holders which will mean more crime, more victims and, ultimately, some of these will die.”

Now, Albertine is encouraging probation workers in Swindon and Wiltshire to join her and others to protest against the changes.

She said: “A high turn-out on the picket line will send a clear message to Chris Grayling that we do not agree with his reforms and are concerned about public safety if the sell-off goes ahead.

“Although the split is imminent, there is still everything to play for since, until the organisation is actually sold off to bidders, we just have a nominal split and a new way of working, which can evolve into something more integrated in the future again.

“But if we do not fight now, it will be too late after the contracts are signed.”

The changes are expected to be in place by April 2015, but Napo is asking the public to sign an online petition against the plans.

Go to www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/ stop-risking-public-safety to have your say. For more on the planned changes visit www.justice.gov.uk/ transforming-rehabilitation.

Comments (15)

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8:09am Fri 7 Mar 14

house on the hill says...

Firstly, if they did a good efficient job in the first place they wouldn't even be looking at privatising them and secondly that is the most scary bunch of people I have seen in a long time!
Firstly, if they did a good efficient job in the first place they wouldn't even be looking at privatising them and secondly that is the most scary bunch of people I have seen in a long time! house on the hill
  • Score: 5

8:17am Fri 7 Mar 14

Always Grumpy says...

Are they the actual probation officers, or the people they are supposed to be supervising?
Are they the actual probation officers, or the people they are supposed to be supervising? Always Grumpy
  • Score: 9

8:25am Fri 7 Mar 14

ChannelX says...


“It is a matter of life or death.“


How ironic. Parole Boards and the judiciary routinely allow convicted, known violent criminals to walk free to then go on to seriously injure and murder more people - and then just blithely claim, 'How were we supposed to know they'd do that?'

No sympathy for the probation officers. Evidence shows that it would be virtually impossible for anyone to do a worse job.

Frankly, I'd rather the offenders most likely to re-offend (which begs the question, 'Why are they at large in the first place?') were overseen by private companies. At least they are accountable and can be replaced swiftly when necessary.
[quote] “It is a matter of life or death.“ [/quote] How ironic. Parole Boards and the judiciary routinely allow convicted, known violent criminals to walk free to then go on to seriously injure and murder more people - and then just blithely claim, 'How were we supposed to know they'd do that?' No sympathy for the probation officers. Evidence shows that it would be virtually impossible for anyone to do a worse job. Frankly, I'd rather the offenders most likely to re-offend (which begs the question, 'Why are they at large in the first place?') were overseen by private companies. At least they are accountable and can be replaced swiftly when necessary. ChannelX
  • Score: 7

9:54am Fri 7 Mar 14

swindondad says...

So some staff will be TUPE’d to private companies but as NONE of the staff will face redundancy or loss of pay so WTF are they moaning.

STFU and get back to work you ungrateful toads. There are plenty of other people willing and able to take the jobs if you do not want them.
So some staff will be TUPE’d to private companies but as NONE of the staff will face redundancy or loss of pay so WTF are they moaning. STFU and get back to work you ungrateful toads. There are plenty of other people willing and able to take the jobs if you do not want them. swindondad
  • Score: 5

10:17am Fri 7 Mar 14

Thoughtfulness says...

This seems to be a follow-up to the recent article which claimed there was "outrage" among probation staff at the changes.... but later in the article it revealed that a mighty 4 out of 120-odd staff had objected!
This seems to be a follow-up to the recent article which claimed there was "outrage" among probation staff at the changes.... but later in the article it revealed that a mighty 4 out of 120-odd staff had objected! Thoughtfulness
  • Score: 7

10:27am Fri 7 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

With the technology we have today we do not need any probation staff, we could fit the offenders with implants to determine their exact location.
With the technology we have today we do not need any probation staff, we could fit the offenders with implants to determine their exact location. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: 3

10:36am Fri 7 Mar 14

Eastcott says...

"Now fold your arms and look pained. That's great guys" and *snap*.
"Now fold your arms and look pained. That's great guys" and *snap*. Eastcott
  • Score: 4

12:17pm Fri 7 Mar 14

mrwoo says...

Was dating a probation officer for a while, right up herself she was, but she had smashing bangers so not all bad!
Was dating a probation officer for a while, right up herself she was, but she had smashing bangers so not all bad! mrwoo
  • Score: 1

12:54pm Fri 7 Mar 14

dukeofM4 says...

What you're going to see now is a probation system that does minimal work for the most money. Will the public be more danger? Probably not. If someone does care about being banged up, the probation officer doesn't really feature in the conversation.

However my concern is the privatised probation service will needlessly keep people in 'their' system as long as possible to get paid. The argument is not so different than a private prison keeping prisoners in as long as possible to keep that bed filled and the money rolling in.

The Wiltshire Probation Trust really needed to enter the 21st century and start using revolutionary things such as email.

At present it's a form filling, tick the box organisation using the 'my way or the highway' mentality managed rather grumpy drab people dreaming of their next holiday or on the glide path to retirement.
What you're going to see now is a probation system that does minimal work for the most money. Will the public be more danger? Probably not. If someone does care about being banged up, the probation officer doesn't really feature in the conversation. However my concern is the privatised probation service will needlessly keep people in 'their' system as long as possible to get paid. The argument is not so different than a private prison keeping prisoners in as long as possible to keep that bed filled and the money rolling in. The Wiltshire Probation Trust really needed to enter the 21st century and start using revolutionary things such as email. At present it's a form filling, tick the box organisation using the 'my way or the highway' mentality managed rather grumpy drab people dreaming of their next holiday or on the glide path to retirement. dukeofM4
  • Score: -5

12:56pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Itssomewheretowork says...

If the probation officers are so concerned and really believe about the publics safety, they would surely find another way to protest rather than their cynical 24 hour strike which is designed in such a way as to actually cause disruption over two days.

Their body language doesn't actually give Joe public the impression that they are concered, caring public servants and the vast majority will still be doing the same job.
If the probation officers are so concerned and really believe about the publics safety, they would surely find another way to protest rather than their cynical 24 hour strike which is designed in such a way as to actually cause disruption over two days. Their body language doesn't actually give Joe public the impression that they are concered, caring public servants and the vast majority will still be doing the same job. Itssomewheretowork
  • Score: 5

1:00pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Hmmmf says...

Photo caption: Your life in their hands.
Photo caption: Your life in their hands. Hmmmf
  • Score: 3

2:16pm Fri 7 Mar 14

ChannelX says...


However my concern is the privatised probation service will needlessly keep people in 'their' system as long as possible to get paid.


Much better that than the current system of releasing convicts out of prison as early as possible to then be 'supervised' by people who don't even know where they are for most of the day and actually end up more like social workers/personal assistants for criminals than trying to protect the general public from their clients' next crimes.
[quote] However my concern is the privatised probation service will needlessly keep people in 'their' system as long as possible to get paid. [/quote] Much better that than the current system of releasing convicts out of prison as early as possible to then be 'supervised' by people who don't even know where they are for most of the day and actually end up more like social workers/personal assistants for criminals than trying to protect the general public from their clients' next crimes. ChannelX
  • Score: 3

9:19pm Fri 7 Mar 14

jamie brewer 2010 says...

what date this going on march 31 st is a monday not wednesday ???
what date this going on march 31 st is a monday not wednesday ??? jamie brewer 2010
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Sat 8 Mar 14

dukeofM4 says...

@ChannelX - Unless you're going turn the UK into a Stalinist state with the KGB, history has shown banging people up for extended periods of time doesn't necessary cut the crime rate. However, exiling them to the Gulag is effective.

The price we pay for an open society is crime. You talk about early release from prison, I also read only 60% of community orders ever get fully served

So unless you're prepared to bring back the Gulag, any other method will have a failure rate including prison.

Even the probation officers want to move each case on. Community Orders, and Unpaid Work, are a waste of time, it's just a farce for the Government to show their getting tough on crime.

For minor crimes, just fine someone and move the issue on. Does a cuppa with John the Probation Officer or removing graffiti or painting the walls for an OAP really going to change anyone's mind. It really comes down to if someone wants the hassle of the system or not. If they don't want the hassle, they behave, if they don't behave then they'll endure the charade. To some people it's a cost of doing business.

Fighting crime is as old as time and it swings back and forth from leniency to harshness. Right now we're somewhere in between with the Government pandering to special interest groups trying to be all things to all men.

And how about the current farce of the witch hunt for celebrities and bringing them to court for 'crimes' committed in 1959 and losing three times in court and counting. We'll see if the CPS can better its average with Max Clifford, Rolf Harris, Paul Gambaccinni, and others going forward.

But be careful what you wish for, there are some in the community suggesting to stop bringing victims into court all together and show a 'witness groomed' video on a court flat screen as currently being tested in some parts of the country. So it's the defendant vs the flat screen is that justice not to face your accusers? It's a dangerous erosion of defendant's rights.
@ChannelX - Unless you're going turn the UK into a Stalinist state with the KGB, history has shown banging people up for extended periods of time doesn't necessary cut the crime rate. However, exiling them to the Gulag is effective. The price we pay for an open society is crime. You talk about early release from prison, I also read only 60% of community orders ever get fully served So unless you're prepared to bring back the Gulag, any other method will have a failure rate including prison. Even the probation officers want to move each case on. Community Orders, and Unpaid Work, are a waste of time, it's just a farce for the Government to show their getting tough on crime. For minor crimes, just fine someone and move the issue on. Does a cuppa with John the Probation Officer or removing graffiti or painting the walls for an OAP really going to change anyone's mind. It really comes down to if someone wants the hassle of the system or not. If they don't want the hassle, they behave, if they don't behave then they'll endure the charade. To some people it's a cost of doing business. Fighting crime is as old as time and it swings back and forth from leniency to harshness. Right now we're somewhere in between with the Government pandering to special interest groups trying to be all things to all men. And how about the current farce of the witch hunt for celebrities and bringing them to court for 'crimes' committed in 1959 and losing three times in court and counting. We'll see if the CPS can better its average with Max Clifford, Rolf Harris, Paul Gambaccinni, and others going forward. But be careful what you wish for, there are some in the community suggesting to stop bringing victims into court all together and show a 'witness groomed' video on a court flat screen as currently being tested in some parts of the country. So it's the defendant vs the flat screen is that justice not to face your accusers? It's a dangerous erosion of defendant's rights. dukeofM4
  • Score: -2

4:34pm Sun 9 Mar 14

trolley dolley says...

With arms folded like that we should take what they say as very serious but never forget this is about keeping their jobs. Not a lot different from some council workers in the past, they just want to keep the status quo and the easy money.

As for early release, this is a way of keeping order in prisons without much effort from prison officers.

What should be done is that you serve your full sentence but if you cause trouble more time is added to it. Currently it is the wrong way round.
With arms folded like that we should take what they say as very serious but never forget this is about keeping their jobs. Not a lot different from some council workers in the past, they just want to keep the status quo and the easy money. As for early release, this is a way of keeping order in prisons without much effort from prison officers. What should be done is that you serve your full sentence but if you cause trouble more time is added to it. Currently it is the wrong way round. trolley dolley
  • Score: 2

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