Reports condemn ‘unsatisfactory’ probation services in London for violent and sexual crimes

National Probation Service

A recent report suggests that probation services in London in regards to violent and sexual crimes are “wholly unsatisfactory”. According to the report, victims of violent and sexual crimes complained that they could not keep a track on the statutory scheme which updated them about offenders. The National Probation Service (NPS) is responsible for supervising about 17,000 offenders across London. Reports suggest the NPS has been given an overall rating of “requires improvement” by the inspectorate. This is the second-lowest of four ratings.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) also agreed that improvement was “clearly needed”. “Some victims are not being offered a service at all, while others are receiving a service that is simply not good enough,” recorded Dame Glenys Stacey, Chief inspector of probation. She stated that it was disappointing to see that the standards were so “poor”.

Moreover, the Victim Contact Scheme (VCS) is designed to give regular updates about the perpetrator, but at least one in five cases were not given the opportunity to access the scheme. They could hence not make representations about an offender’s release arrangements and also not receive information about the license conditions. As a consequence, one in five inspected cases did not have contact to manage and minimize the risk of harm safely enough. Furthermore, the report hinted on a “significant” paucity of staff. The report recorded more than 150 unfilled vacancies.

“High levels of attrition mean some offices lack experienced staff and this knowledge gap could potentially have an impact on the quality of services,” said Dame Glenys Stacey in a statement. The MoJ has recorded to make improvements to provide victims that needed contact and support. Plans will also be drawn in regards to new guidance for staff, focusing on domestic abuse and safeguarding children.