Poor probation service in East Midlands 'putting lives at risk'

A prison officer Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An inspection found resources in the East Midlands were "stretched"

Lives are being put at risk across the East Midlands because of poor probation services, trade unions have claimed.

A report by HM Inspectorate of Probation assessed the privately-run community rehabilitation company for the region as "requiring improvement", the second-lowest rating.

It highlights domestic violence and child safeguarding as areas of particular concern.

A spokesman for the probation company said it will learn from the report.

Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland (DLNR) is one of two community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) owned by the Reducing Reoffending Partnership inspected in the past year.

Its sister company, which covers Staffordshire and the West Midlands, received the same rating.

'Slip off the radar'

While acknowledging "tight" resources, the inspection found "poor-quality" assessments meant the risk of harm in domestic violence and child safeguarding was "not being managed properly", with staff unable to undertake "essential" supervision due to high workloads and "insufficient skills and knowledge".

Five recommendations were made, including providing staff "with the knowledge and skills... to keep other people safe".

Image caption Ian Lawrence, from the National Association of Probation Officers, said contracts do not give companies enough money to make necessary improvements

Ian Lawrence from the National Association of Probation Officers said "under-funded" contracts do not give companies enough money to improve, adding "people will die" if supervision for domestic violence and other services does not improve.

"The right information needs to be available so the judiciary can make the right judgments, our people need the right information to be able to make recommendations, and most of all we need the facilities to see these people regularly, otherwise they could slip off the radar," he said.

DLNR said its employees "work hard" to reduce reoffending rates.

The company said it would use the report's findings to strengthen its work.

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