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PCCs pitch for more control over local probation

Police and Crime Commissioners have pitched to have a greater role in probation work. The reunited Probation Service is an opportunity to help local communities, they say.

Police and Crime Commissioners want to build on their work with offenders and have called for more powers over local partners.

The pitch from PCCs followed the launch of the reunited Probation Service.

The government wants a reduction in offending and local agencies to work better together to improve outcomes - and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said their position on Local Criminal Justice Boards could help achieve this.

They are also funding local initiatives, mainly with charities, to support people avoid crime or help ex-offenders. Their links to other agencies means they could do more but would need more statutory powers than they currently have – and backing from the Ministry of Justice to do it.

APCC Criminal Justice Lead and Hertfordshire PCC David Lloyd said: “PCCs are already investing in local projects which help offenders to turn their lives around, including schemes which tackle underlying issues such as substance misuse.

“We also use our convening powers as chairs of Local Criminal Justice Boards to bring criminal justice partners together to seek practical solutions to local problems. Probation services play a key role in this.”

He explained: “PCCs would like to see those Local Criminal Justice Board powers strengthened. Meanwhile, we are also keen to see that unpaid work undertaken by offenders under the Community Payback scheme makes a real difference. Using our knowledge of our local communities, PCCs can help identify programmes of work which tackle local priorities linked to our Police and Crime Plans.”

The government said the new service would ensure there is better and more consistent supervision of offenders and closer working with the police across its 12 regions.

And behind the reform is a policy expectation by the government that more offenders will be subject to community sentencing orders. The government's statement highlighted the increased use of GPS tagging to track offenders.

The National Police Chiefs' Council welcomed the return of a single organisation that would make the probation system work better.

An NPCC spokesman said: "Police forces work closely with health, local authority and probation partners to manage high-risk offenders. We will continue to work closely with them as part of the new unified system to protect the public and reduce reoffending."

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