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Napo responds to HMIP report into Jordan McSweeney

This latest HMIP report highlights the failures of the Government’s dangerous 7-year experiment to privatise the probation service despite warnings from Napo and sister unions.

His Majesties Inspector of Probation (HMIP) has today published a report into the tragic death of Ms Zara Aleena at the hands of Jordan McSweeney last summer. The findings are  highly critical of a number of Agencies responsible for the incarceration and supervision of the perpetrator before the case reached the London Probation Service prior to this heinous offence being committed.

Ian Lawrence General Secretary of Napo, representing Probation staff in the London Region, has claimed that the HMIP report confirms the Union’s long standing warnings to Government Ministers over the likely impact on public safety of the previous decision to part-privatise the service, inadequate exchange of information relating to risk between Prison and Probation and an acute staffing crisis across the whole of the Probation Service.

Mr Lawrence said: “The release of yet another damning report from the Probation Inspector about the supervision of the perpetrator throughout their journey in the Criminal Justice system, lays bare the fact that the London Probation Service is suffering from an acute staffing crisis.

“There are huge numbers of unfilled vacancies and staff absences due to stress and overwork which directly impact on the quality of supervision that our members are desperately trying to provide.”

The HMIP report makes repeated references to previous findings by the Inspectorate about the critical shortages of experienced probation staff in London and the overload on supervising officers.

Last week, another report commissioned by the London Assembly into the provision of Probation Services in London arrived at similar conclusions.

Mr Lawrence went on to say: “The thoughts of Napo members obviously go to the family of Ms Aleena at this hugely difficult time. Napo are totally committed to the campaign to protect Women and young Girls from male violence.

“Unfortunately this Government’s failure to learn the lessons of their 7-year experiment to privatise the service and put it into the hands of profiteers was a disaster that we are still trying to repair and they have much to answer for.

“I am asking the Secretary of State to meet with me and our members at the front face of operations to tell us how he is going to provide the investment that the Probation Service so desperately needs.”

7 Responses

  1. Our unions need to be fighting for more staff, if they don’t then we are going to be seeing more deaths that could have been avoided. My office are seeing WMTs of almost 200%.

    1. Hello Rachel thanks for your response, and I hope you will have seen that this is a number one priority for Napo and our sister unions. But its also a campaign that you can help with locally by contacting your MP and speaking with non-members about how important it is to join a trade union such as Napo that I hope you will have seen has secured a massive media profile in defending our members against unfair criticism. We are also looking to encourage new reps to step up or even if you feel you may want to be a local point of contact for Napo that would be great.

      If workloads are of the order you describe the first step is for members to issue foreseeability notices (see materials on the Napo website) and you can ask your Branch to demand an urgent meeting with the Regional Probation Director as well.

      Kind regards

      Ian Lawrence

  2. The Grayling experiment, on which I listened to him expound in parliament, was doomed for failure. More than enough evidence and warning was presented but to no avail. Experienced officers left in droves and new, untrained unqualified people were expected to fill the gap. Public private ownership with all the negative analysis of it have played out on peoples’ lives. Poorly paid employees have to carry the burden for this latest heartbreak while the government plays the blame game for their dereliction of duty of care to the public.

  3. Angry that tabloid press speaking about ” blunders” by probation especially regarding recall. This can only be accomplished if police can find the person. At the end of the day, no amount of surveillance or restrictions can stop that person committing a crime.. prisons and Probation have to abide by the prescriptions of the CJA2003 regarding early release and do the best they can to manage an offender in the community. If the lawmakers of this land implement legislation which fails to keep the public safe then don’t scapegoat those who have to deal with the consequences!

  4. Mr Grayling should be held accountable for his poor decisions that left the Probation Service in the poor state it is still in and still trying to recover from and all the other failings Grayling has had his hands in but he seems to be untouchable for his massive mistakes and he should made to explain himself to all the victims family’s which he will never do as that is the arrogance of the man.

  5. I find it disgusting that it takes the death of a vulnerable women for the government to be questioned regarding the huge failure in the probation service.

  6. This case is such another bad indictment on the understaffed probation service. I must also say that more experienced staff should be recruited back into the Probation Service.

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