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.”