WTH! Probation officers WFH? How does that work? AFAIK*, probation officers are supposed to see their ‘clients’ face-to-face. Once convicted of an offence which is not imprisonable or the sentence is a combination of community payback and suspended custodial sentence, criminals are supposed to report to their probation officer at least on a weekly basis at the probation office. This is to ensure that they are keeping to their sentence requirements and most importantly, keeping out of trouble.
So, how does it work if the probation officer is at work, at home? IMHO* running things from home cannot work. If the offender is not being held accountable, nor proper procedures followed, then this will inevitably put the public at risk. And it already has.
Take the case of law graduate and aspiring lawyer Zara Aleena. Whilst walking home in Ilford, east London, from a night out with friends, in the summer of 2022, she was murdered by Jordan McSweeney. Sexual predator McSweeney had been released from prison on licence nine days before he killed Zara, but because he was wrongly assessed, by probation staff working from home, that his risk to the public was ‘medium’ where it should have been ‘high’ he got the opportunity to kill. A recent review by Justin Russell, Chief Inspector of Probation, found McSweeney should have been recalled to prison six days before the attack. Probation had failed to follow procedure.
In another case, Damien Bendall was also wrongly classed as a ‘medium risk’ to the public. Yet this psychopath from Killamarsh in Derbyshire, went on to kill his pregnant partner and three children, in 2021. Again, the review of the probation service found that at every stage in the procedure, there were failings. Home working leads to probation officers making mistakes in assessing the risks of offenders, leading to horrific crimes.
And another thing, despite all the failings of WFH, probation staff say they would rather resign than go back to face-to-face meetings with their clients. Clearly working from home was and is a cushy little number and probation staff saw no reason to change that and it seems they are quite happy to put the public at risk. In which case I would say to those who choose to walk, NBD*. Jog on!
AFAIK* as far as I know
NBD* No big deal