Cuts to probation service are recipe for disaster

I urge the UK Government to reconsider the potentially devastating effect of its cuts to the probation service in Wales.

The UK government divided the Probation Service into two separate elements from June 2014. This was designed to take on additional responsibilities (most notably supervision of discharged prisoners on sentences under 12 months) without increased funding. Under that restructure one of the two elements consisted of “localised” Community Rehabilitation Companies under private ownership operating under Ministry of Justice funding. The whole of Wales is covered by a single Community Rehabilitation Company (Wales CRC), which will now be subject to 40% cuts – equivalent to a 44% reduction in full-time probation staff.

The probation service in Wales is being asked to bear the highest level of reduction in service – which coupled with cuts to frontline policing – is a recipe for disaster. The UK Government have referred to these swathing cuts in terms of ‘streamlining’ and ‘efficiency savings’. There is nothing ‘efficient’ about cuts which threaten the future of services which safeguard our communities, and manage and reduce the impact of crime in Wales, including here in Newport. I will continue to support NAPO campaigns to stop these cuts, and would urge the Conservative Government in Westminster to reconsider its position as soon as possible.