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Derbyshire's PCC says Probation Announcement is 'Smoke and Mirrors'

Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has described the Government’s latest plans for probation as nothing more than ‘Smoke and Mirrors’.

Commenting on the news that Government contracts with 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), set up to manage low-risk offenders, will now be terminated in 2020 - two years earlier than planned, he said: “This is a failed experiment, something the Government has clearly accepted.  But they are simply planning to replace the original 21 CRCs with 10 bigger versions of the same.  I understand the Welsh one will be merged with the National Probation Service.

“In reality they are simply replacing like with like.”

 A former probation officer with 30 years’ experience, Mr Dhindsa added: “Mistakes always mean there is a price to be paid. Unfortunately, the taxpayer will be paying rather a high price for the decision to privatise most of the probation service. 

“I welcome the fact that the Government has seen the error of its ways and will end this costly and unsuccessful experiment earlier than planned.  But I urge caution regarding the plans for the future revealed today.

“This is an opportunity for them to rethink their approach.  It is simply wrong to continue to split probation services up like this.  Professional opinion, reoffending figures, criminal justice partners and even the House of Commons Justice Committee agree that this has not worked. 

“The very idea of turning a public service which manages offenders and their rehabilitation into our communities into a business is a flawed concept.  It needs motivation and the kind of understanding that isn’t motivated by money, growth or profit margins.

“Simply trading one set of private companies for a smaller number, probably with no change in the actual companies themselves is a smoke and mirrors scenario.  It is fraught with danger.

“There are alternatives and I think that these should be considered before new contracts are announced.  More of the same will just not work.”

Ends

More information available here https://consult.justice.gov.uk/hm-prisons-and-probation/strengthening-probation-building-confidence/

Media enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012

Posted on Friday 27th July 2018
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