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Home   Kent   News   Article

Kent Probation Trust criticised for failing to protect public from offenders who pose risk, Chief Inspector of Probation reports

18 March 2014
by KentOnline reporter

Risks posed by criminals on probation who could harm others were not analysed thoroughly enough by officers, a report out today has revealed.

Probation workers also didn't liaise enough with other agencies on the potential risks of adult offenders, the report by the Chief Inspector of Probation has revealed.

Paul McDowell said that while some progress had been made in the Kent Probation Trust, a recent inspection said it still needed to improve its work to protect the public.

Kent Police officers make an arrest

Kent Police officers make an arrest

The inspection was the third of six where inspectors were looking more closely at the work of Probation Trusts to protect children and young people.

On the plus side, the inspection found most court reports were of high quality; officers motivated offenders to comply with their sentence, and most criminals didn't re-offend.

But inspectors were concerned that the initial assessment of the likelihood of re-offending was either delayed or inadequate.

The analysis of the risk of harm posed by individuals was either not consistent or thorough enough, and a plan to manage the risk was not effective.

There has been a spate of break-ins and burglaries across Sheppey - including an attempted robbery at a town shop

There has been a spate of break-ins and burglaries across Sheppey - including an attempted robbery at a town shop

The report also found home visits weren't always carried out when they were needed in high risk cases or in response to concerns about child protection.

And not all risk management plans looked at victims or potential victims.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments belowPaul McDowell said: "Following a disappointing inspection in 2010, strategic leaders had become determined to improve the quality of work across the Trust.

"The results of this effort were evident in some areas of practice, such as reports to court where work was of a high standard and greatly appreciated by sentencers.

"However, there remained significant areas of work, particularly in relation to assessments and plans to manage risk of harm to others, where improvement efforts had not yet led to consistency in performance."

A number of recommendations were made to address the shortfalls, and senior managers were asked to create a "robust action plan" to bring about improvements.

A statement from Kent Probation said protecting the public and reducing re-offending was paramount to its work.

It added: “We continue to take our responsibilities in relation to the management of offenders very seriously and as the Inspectorate has acknowledged we are already taking action on a number of fronts to strengthen the quality of our work.

“Our actions include the roll-out of training to our front-line staff to address HMIP recommendations around sentence planning and reviews; and the secondment of a probation officer to the central referral unit in Kent County Council to meet our commitment to safeguarding children.”


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