Probation services get shake-up to cut crime rates

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This follows an extra £300million being invested in the service since July 2019 in a drive to double the number of probation officers. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “The work probation does to protect the public from harm and rehabilitate offenders is too often overlooked, but it is vitally important given 80 per cent of crime is re-offending. “The Government is backing the new Probation Service with more money and more staff so that the public is better protected, crime is cut – and fewer people become victims.”

Officials said the extra funding is helping to more than double the recruitment of probation officers, from the usual annual intake of 600 trainee probation officers to 1,000 last year. There are also plans to recruit a record 1,500 this financial year.

Staff will be expected to keep a closer eye on the most dangerous offenders and ensure many more take up the opportunity to reform their criminal ways.

The overhaul coming into force is also aimed at better co-ordinating the Probation Service and working more closely with the police, NHS and local authorities.

Probation staff will be expected to visit offenders’ homes to protect children, partners and other family members from domestic abuse.

In some cases, such safeguarding visits will be joint with police and social services.

The shake-up comes on top of an increased use of electronic monitoring, including GPS and sobriety tags, in the Probation Service’s drive to keep the public safe.

Charities and firms have also been awarded nearly £200million to provide vital support services that help to reduce re-offending.

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