Hundreds of convicted criminals in the West Yorkshire Probation Trust area, many of them guilty of serious crimes including robbery, sex attacks and burglaries, could soon be supervised by G4S and Serco, as the Tory Government privatises the Probation Service.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed the number of offenders currently being supervised by highly trained professional probation officers that will be off-loaded to private companies.
In the West Yorkshire Probation Trust, that means that 12219 offenders will be in the hands of the likes of G4S and Serco.
Up to now the Government has refused to reveal how many serious and violent offenders would be put in the hands of private companies, but Labour’s Freedom of Information request has revealed the true scale of their plans in our local area.
Under Government plans, supervision of low and medium risk offenders will be handed over to the private sector.
Although rated low or medium risk, this does not directly reflect the original crime. Many of those rated low or medium risk have committed serious and violent crimes such as domestic violence, burglary, robbery, violence against the person & sexual offenders.
The Government has so far refused to say how many offenders this would affect. Labour therefore submitted Freedom of Information requests to each Probation Trust in the country to find out how many low and medium risk offenders were supervised in 2012 to provide an illustration of how many would become the responsibility of private companies under the Government’s plans.
Both G4S and Serco are currently under investigation for alleged irregularities with contracts for electronic tagging and prisoner transport by the Serious Fraud Office and the National Audit Office. Chris Grayling has refused Labour’s calls to bar both companies from the forthcoming £800million privatisation of the Probation Service.
The Coalition are also imposing an untested and untried payment by results model on probation. No piloting has taken place to see whether this will work or not, or to iron out any failings. In his first week as Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling cancelled the pilots in two Probation Trusts. This is a reckless gamble.
Alex Sobel commenting on the West Yorkshire data, said: “You can’t take risks with public safety yet this is precisely what the Government is doing with their reckless plans to privatise the Probation Service. Handing over supervision for serious and violent offenders to the same companies that time and again let down the taxpayer is a recipe for disaster.
“The public need to be confident that those under supervision in our communities aren’t part of some giant experiment. But the Government is running scared – they’ve not brought their plans before Parliament, instead choosing to rush ahead at breakneck speed and impose their untried and untested privatisation on our communities”
Yesterday, Labour moved a motion to suspend the plans to roll out the privatisation, which is being rushed through without sufficient evidence or thought.
Sadiq Khan called on the LibDems to support him.
They did not, but voted, as usual, with their Tory colleagues. The motion was lost.
As far as we can see from Hansard, Greg Mulholland did not turn up to vote.
Read the full debate here http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/read/unknown/696/