Good Probation Services – means fewer victims
Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight David Goodall has met with Barrie Crook, Chief Executive of the Hampshire Probation Trust, to discuss how the probation service works to across the Hampshire Constabulary area and how it is likely to work in the future with the new Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Hampshire Probation Trust (HPT) is one of the 35 Trusts that make up the Probation Service in England and Wales, and the stated aims of the service nationally are:
- The protection of the public
- A reduction in re-offending
- The proper punishment of offenders
- Ensuring offender awareness of the effects of crime on the victims of crime and the public
- The rehabilitation of offenders
Many people convicted of offences in England and Wales serve their sentences in the community and the Probation Service has a statutory obligation to supervise these offenders and ensure they complete their punishment within the timescales set by the courts. The Probation Service also supervise offenders on release from prison to achieve their effective resettlement into the community
Hampshire Probation Trust serves a population of about 1.7 million and they supervise in the region of 6,800 offenders each year.
Hampshire Probation Trust employs around 640 staff based in 15 offices, the Courts, Approved Premises (Hostels) and 5 prisons, and spends about £22 million a year to carry out its work.
During the hour long meeting at the Hampshire Probation Trust HQ in Winchester the Barrie Crook and as team outlined the issues they have to detail with and approached used to tackle them. In particular the approach that is working well is use of Integrated Offender Management (IOM) centres that work with serious offenders to change their offending behaviour, use of these centres has seen a reduction in offences of 66%.
It was also pointed out the re-offending rate of Community Orders is 34% against a re-offending rate of 60% for the short term prison sentences.
Commenting on the meeting David Goodall said:-
"It is clear that taking a holistic approach to sorting out offenders works and programmes like the IOM are a good tactic to use."
"The aim should be always to rehabilitate offenders, not because that offender will lead a better life, although they will and not because it will cost the taxpayer less, although it will, but because it will reduce the numbers of victims and help the offender's victims, who will know their testimony prevented other victims."
In the future the probation service is also going to move to a commissioning model and this will inevitably involve the Police and Crime Commissioner in some capacity although how is yet to be defined by the Government.
Commenting the future proposals David Goodall said:-
"The new commissioning model is a great opportunity to fully integrate the current probation services, with council, charity and voluntary sector service providers to achieve a service that can cope with the wide variety of offenders."
"The idea service is one where the first through the probation service is also the last. This would mean lower reoffending rates, fewer crimes and most importantly fewer victims"