Threat to public from lifers fear

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Sex offenders and murderers will pose a greater risk to the public when supervised by companies rather than trained probation professionals.

That’s the view of Lincolnshire Probation Trust staff who are battling to stop most of their workload being farmed out to companies like G4S in 2015 as the Government seeks to slash costs.

So-called low and medium risk offenders will switch to private companies.

Jane Loffhagen, chairman of Lincolnshire Probation branch of the union NAPO, says: “That group includes most sex offenders and it would also include all lifers once they are released from prison.

“It will put public safety at risk – there is no two ways about it.”

Lincolnshire has 250 people working in probation and staff believe 70 per cent will go if 70 per cent of the work goes.

Probation staff and other legal professionals meet at the University of Lincoln next Thursday to highlight concerns about the Government’s systematic dismantling of key elements of the criminal justice system, including a defendant’s right – when facing a possible jail term – to choose a solicitor paid for by Legal Aid.