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Devon and Cornwall PCC welcomes Government take-over of probation services

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall has welcomed a Government decision to place parts of the probation service back in the public sector after the collapse of a company that supervised low level offenders in the region.

Alison Hernandez had been lobbying for the change since an inspection report was strongly critical of probation services in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, delivered by Working Links, a community rehabilitation company that had been commissioned to manage low and medium risk offenders.

Working Links then went into administration with another CRC, owned by Seetec, being brought in as a temporary measure to manage the service in the South West. The management of those offenders who posed the most serious threat remained with the National Probation Service for England and Wales.

Today (May 16, 2019) the Ministry of Justice announced that the supervision of all offenders on probation would be put back in the public sector from December 2020.

Alison welcomed the decision and paid tribute to those who had worked in probation during a challenging period.

“Effective probation services reduce reoffending by helping those who have broken the law get their lives back on track,” she said.

“It is clear that in Devon and Cornwall the parts of probation that were spun out of the nationalised service were not functioning effectively. Staff caseloads in the community rehabilitation company were far too high.  Staff felt that they were unable to do their job under the Working Links regime.

“I have been working with other PCCs to lobby for this change and am therefore very pleased that the Government has listened to us. This is a good result for hard-working probation staff, the people they manage and vitally for the safety of our communities.”