WE MUST STAND UP FOR OUR LOCAL PROBATION SERVICE, SAYS LUFF
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WE MUST STAND UP FOR OUR LOCAL PROBATION SERVICE, SAYS LUFF

Once again vital local services seem to be under threat as the Government seeks to regionalise them – next under fire could be the West Mercia Probation Service.
That’s the warning from Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff after news that the Government was considering the merger of the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trusts. This could be the first step to a fully regionalised probation service, which would see the West Mercia and Warwickshire Probation Trusts having to follow suit.

Peter has tabled an urgent parliamentary question to Jack Straw MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, seeking to clarify whether proper assessment has been made of the likely impact of such a merger on the West Mercia Probation Service.

The West Mercia Probation Service provides probation supervision, offending behaviour programmes and specialist support services which can stop people committing further offences. It currently works alongside the Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands Probation Trusts.

Commenting Peter said:

“The West Mercia Probation Service is an outstanding service. A vital component of its effectiveness is the fact it works across exactly the same boundaries as the West Mercia Police force and, indeed, the Magistrates Court Service.

“The Probation Service is only visible to people who use its services but it does vital work in the criminal justice system. I have always been proud to champion the work it does in our local communities.

“Its local accountability must not be diluted and its effectiveness must not be undermined by any move towards a regional probation service.

“Just as we fought against the merger of our police service with that of Birmingham knowing it would suck resources away from Worcestershire, so we must fight any proposal that might emerge to later regionalise our probation services. The fact that Staffordshire looks set to merge with the West Midlands Probation Trust is very concerning and sets a dangerous precedent.”

ENDS

Notes:

Peter’s question in full:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for the West Mercia Probation Trust of the proposed merger of the Staffordshire and West Midlands trusts; whether it is his policy to organise the Probation Service on a regional basis; and if he will make a statement.


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