Sunderland probation officers’ fears over privatisation

Rep for NAPO, the probation officer's union, Mike Quinn, outside Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
Rep for NAPO, the probation officer's union, Mike Quinn, outside Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
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A UNION leader has warned that Government reforms will put the achievements of the region’s probation service at risk.

New measures which come into place this month will see outsourcing of about 70 per cent of probation work to private firms.

As of yesterday, offenders across Wearside will be managed by two separate organisations, a move that has come in for criticism by probation officers’ union Napo.

Mike Quinn, from Napo’s Northumbria branch, believes the controversial break-up will not work for the Trust, one of the best-performing in the country.

He said: “We have called time and time again for the Government to show us the evidence that privatising probation will show any further improvement in reducing re-offending.

“The simple fact is that they can’t – this is an ideological move by a Conservative-led Government to privatise the public services.”

Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) will supervise offenders on community orders, suspended sentences or who have been released from prison on licence, and those who are not serving court orders, but have a history of offending.

Chief executive Nick Hall, former head of Northumbria Probation Trust, said: “We have an experienced and highly-skilled workforce, which is committed to working with offenders in adopting a crime-free lifestyle, as well as effectively managing risk in order to protect the public.”

New public body, the National Probation Service, will work in courts, with victims and in the management of high-risk offenders.