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“Crime will be cut” following launch of unified Probation Service, says MoJ

Offenders will face “greater scrutiny” following the launch of the “newly-unified Probation Service”, the Government has claimed.

The report comes after the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced £300 million of new funding for the probation service, which was part-privatised in 2014.

According to the department, the funding will help “more than double” the recruitment of probation officers, with the service set to enrol a record 1,500 new trainees this year.

This will result in the “closer supervision” of offenders and allow the probation service to carry out additional home visits – providing offenders with more opportunities to “reform their criminal ways”.

Under the plans, a new specialist National Security Division – tasked with the monitoring of terrorists, serious organised criminals, and very high-risk offenders – will also be launched, while a new set of national standards for probation will ensure offenders meet with probation officers, in-person, at least once a month.

And for the first time, probation staff will be encouraged to “visit offenders’ homes to protect children, partners and other family members from domestic and sexual abuse”, the report reveals.

The changes come in addition to existing measures, which include the increased use of electronic monitoring, such as GPS and “sobriety” tags.

Commenting on the plans, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, said: “The work probation does to protect the public from harm and rehabilitate offenders is too often overlooked but it is vitally important given 80 per cent of crime is reoffending.

“The government is backing the new Probation Service with more money and more staff so that the public is better protected, crime is cut and fewer people become victims.”

The reforms come after a BBC investigation found in 2019 that the part-privatised system was “irredeemably flawed”, with eight out of 10 private firms rated “inadequate”.

Following a review, the supervision of low and medium-risk offenders and delivery of unpaid work and behavioural change programmes will now again be carried out by the public sector Probation Service

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