Probation service 'failing' in Greater Manchester over reoffending

Prison officer seen through bars - generic image Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Criminal justice is to be devolved in Greater Manchester

Probation officers are not doing enough to keep offenders from committing more crimes in Greater Manchester, a watchdog has warned.

HM Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) needed to do more to reduce reoffending.

She said the CRC and National Probation Service (NPS) had also worked well.

It was her last report before criminal justice is devolved in the region. The CRC said it was "driving improvement."

In 2014 probation services in England and Wales were divided into a new National Probation Service and 21 privately-owned rehabilitation companies.

High-risk individuals are managed by the NPS while CRCs are responsible for other offenders.

'Time in pubs'

Dame Glenys's report said: "The CRC was not sufficiently effective in delivering interventions to reduce reoffending.

"Progress in the delivery of interventions to support desistance had been made in too few of the cases in our sample."

The report also expressed concern about the risk to the public from offenders.

It stated: "The CRC had not protected those at risk of harm sufficiently.

"Public protection policies and procedures were robust but they were not being applied consistently."

The report cited the case of one offender whose domestic violence was linked to the amount of time spent in pubs.

It said CRC took no action when it was reported he was spending more time in the pub.

She said the NPS was better at protecting people at risk of harm but also said there was "room for improvement" in stopping reoffending.

Dame Glenys said both organisations were keen to improve, adding: "The Westminster government is soon to devolve significant powers, including over criminal justice, to Greater Manchester.

"Both organisations were working in anticipation of this, and were well placed to respond, having already built up strong local partnerships."

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Cheshire & Greater Manchester CRC, said: "I am disappointed that deficits have been found in some areas because we are committed to protecting the communities we are proud to serve and to reduce reoffending."

He said the report acknowledged it had "completed a rapid period of change" and it is "now committed to using our new ICT infrastructure and processes to deliver the best possible service".

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