Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Parliament and Probation Omnishambles

Just like bloody buses, nothing for ages, then three turn up. The probation chaos created by Chris Grayling's part-privatisation doesn't often crop up in Parliament, but yesterday it was being discussed not in one, but three locations at the same time. We had Bob Neill and his Justice Committee listening to the PCCs making a power grab for the whole lot; Ellie Reeves MP kicking off a debate on the whole omnishambles in Westminster Hall and finally the Welsh Affairs Committee taking evidence from Frances Crook on how things could be done better. 

Lets start with the power grab by the Police and Crime Commissioners. A fanciful back-of-a-fag-packet idea by Theresa May when home secretary, we're never-the-less seemingly stuck with this charade of so-called political accountability of the Police and as a group they appear hell-bent on expanding their empire in other directions such as the Fire Service and now probation. Their Association is chaired by a Tory, David Lloyd of Hertfordshire:-  
"I am proud to be the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire. I believe in cutting crime, keeping taxes low and catching more criminals. I also believe that it is the criminal who should be punished, not the victim. People should be able to go about their lawful business in Hertfordshire, without worrying about becoming victims of crime."
He outlined the power-grab before giving evidence to the Justice Committee thus:-

‘PCCs should wield same power over criminal justice system as they do over police’, MPs to be told

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are taking their fight to impose “local oversight” in bringing the criminal justice system to account at a Westminster summit tomorrow. MPs will be told that parts of criminal justice services are “not working” with recent reforms leading to a two-stream probation system that impedes partnership work and innovation.

Association of PCCs’ criminal justice portfolio lead David Lloyd has made it his ambition during his time as organisation chair to bring “swifter high quality justice and improve the experience for all involved”. He is set to give evidence to the UK Parliament’s Justice Committee, calling for PCCs to take over the joint overseeing of Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS) with the Ministry of Justice.

Mr Lloyd is expected to tell the Transforming Rehabilitation session on Tuesday (February 27): “It is my firm belief that PCCs should have the same powers over the criminal justice system that they currently have over their police force – set the plan, the budget, appoint a chief and hold to account.”  The Hertfordshire PCC will add: 

“PCCs have a key role in working with partners to ensure an efficient and effective criminal justice system. That means real oversight and accountability of local criminal justice services, including offender management services. The APCC wants to see funding to be provided to PCCs without ring fence, so that the money can be invested in the part of the system which would have the greatest impact on reducing reoffending in their local area. This may mean, for example, more into Out of Court Disposals in some areas or more in Through the Gate services in others, depending on local need and wider service provision. The PCCs are concerned that across England and Wales the criminal justice agencies are being pulled in different directions. They believe that the “democratic mandate of a PCC means that they can hold the criminal justice system to account for the public and provide transparency at a local level”.
Mr Lloyd’s summary of the “consensus” view of the association claims the current payment by results system for CRCs is not working and is too often driving perverse behaviour. “The use of the local voluntary and community sector has reduced because of the way the payment mechanism for CRCs is structured,” the APCC statement maintains. The reforms have created a two-tier probation system comprising the NPS, responsible for high-risk offenders, and 21 CRCs, responsible for low- and medium-risk offenders.

Mr Lloyd’s report adds: “This has added a further level of complexity onto the probation system, with additional handover points between the NPS and CRCs. The introduction of CRCs – which are nationally commissioned and mostly run by large private firms – has also impeded local partnership work and innovation.”

The most recent Criminal Justice Statistics Quarterly bulletin – covering the period from April 2016 to March 2017) – confirms recent key trends that the lowest number of people since records began in 1970 were dealt with by the courts, but the proportion of people imprisoned for indictable offences rose again and that average length of sentence increased.

Some 1.71 million people were dealt with by the criminal justice system in the last year with the custody rate for indictable offences increasing since March 2011, from 24 per cent to 31 per cent. Average custodial sentence length for these offences has increased from 15.3 months to 19.5 months since March 2007.

Offenders with no previous convictions and cautions are now more likely to go to court and be convicted than to receive a caution – the figure rising from 22 per cent ten years ago to 52 per cent last year.

Since August 2016, HM Inspectorate of Probation has produced 12 Quality & Impact inspections (Durham,York & North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Kent, North London, Staffordshire & Stoke, Greater Manchester, Gwent, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, South Yorkshire and Cumbria) with common themes affecting the NPS including areas struggling to recruit sufficient frontline staff, responsible officers not feeling they had received sufficient training and court work often hampered by poor IT systems and reliability.

In the field of CRCs, the focus on restructuring has often meant that the quality of core service delivery suffered while the work on safeguarding and domestic abuse issues was often seen sub-standard. The HMIP also reported “insufficient good quality supervision and support”.

The APCC recommendations suggest a whole system approach to resettlement is needed through the introduction of common resettlement outcome measures across prisons. Mr Lloyd added: “There is a need to promote closer working between CRCs, prison staff and NPS responsible officers so that there is continuity of resettlement support, effective public protection and oversight throughout the sentence.”

Other representatives at the Justice Committee hearing include Nacro chief executive Jacob Tas; Steve Matthews, national contracts manager of Shelter; Lorraine Preece, chief executive officer, YSS Ltd; Pact CEO Andy Keen-Downs; Beverley Toone, senior employment projects manager of Business in the Community; and Switchback policy and impact manager Sam Boyd.


Meanwhile, this is what Ellie Reeves MP had to say prior to her Westminster Hall debate:-

Ellie Reeves MP: It is time to rethink privatised probation services

Labour MP and Justice Committee member Ellie Reeves writes ahead of her debate today on private probation services.

Today I am leading a Westminster Hall debate on the future of probation services; an issue which highlights many of the problems caused by ill-judged privatisation within our justice system.

The separation of probation services in 2014 and the formation of the public National Probation Service and the outsourced Community Rehabilitation Schemes (CRCs) caused alarm at the time with individuals highlighting the potential for organisational difficulties and negative impacts on rehabilitation work. Three and a half years later, a recent National Audit Office report has shown that CRCs have, on average, met just 8 of the 24 targets set to them by the Ministry of Justice.

When a prisoner is in the transition stage at the end of their sentence, they should be given complete and thorough assistance with accommodation, finance and their long-term employment prospects. The ‘Through the Gate’ strategy aims to support offenders through the various stages of their release. However, CRCs have failed time and time again in improving the prospects of those they were set up to help. A 2017 joint report between HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons report dismissed the work almost entirely stating that even if the “services were removed tomorrow, the impact on the resettlement of prisoners would be negligible”.

Staff, who were previously employed by the probation services, have since reported that morale is low with many feeling that the work they are doing is inadequate to the work they were doing prior to the 2014 changes. 25% of respondents to a UNISON survey reported that that they only occasionally had the equipment, resources or systems to do their job properly.

The failings within these organisations may be repeatedly highlighted but these seem to be continually ignored within the Government, who last July set in motion a series of payments, predicted to amount to £342 million, which have been put in place to bailout CRCs because of misjudged planning on their part. Instead of fining poor performing CRCs or ending their contract early, the Government see it fit to pay them millions more, not least at a time when there are other parts of our justice system in dire need of investment such as our aging prisons and the lack of services within them.

Probation is not a box ticking exercise, nor is it a profession that should be solely driven on targets. It should be based on a well-rounded approach centred on the individual and their needs. I firmly believe that this is not possible under the current arrangement of outsourcing probation to those in pursuit of little else other than profit.

The system we have appears to be a combination of failures that continue to let down offenders and waste taxpayers’ money. It is time, once and for all, for these failed schemes are brought back under public control so that we can get to the root causes of reoffending and provide rehabilitation services that are fit for purpose.

Ellie Reeves is the Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge


Transcript of the whole debate can be found here, or TV but this is what the Minister had to say:-

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Rory Stewart)
It is a great privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Ms McDonagh. I congratulate the hon. Member for Lewisham West and Penge (Ellie Reeves) on securing this debate, which is hugely important, given the risk that criminals can pose to the public, as the hon. Member for Bradford East (Imran Hussain) eloquently put it. The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) expressed the very important idea that people can change and improve, and that the public can be protected through that individual journey.

We have always faced fundamental challenges, but the hon. Member for Lewisham West and Penge is absolutely right that there have been very significant challenges since 2014. However, let me briefly take it back to before 2014. As the hon. Member for Darlington (Jenny Chapman) pointed out, the reality is that it is and has always been extremely difficult to do this kind of work. Before the privatisation of 2014, for nearly 30 or 40 years, probation services worked extremely hard under different Governments to reduce reoffending, and over a 40-year period the reoffending rate barely moved. It hovered around 50% within one year and 70% within nine years. It did not matter whether people were involved with innovative housing, mental health or employment projects. It was stubbornly difficult to reduce reoffending.

Despite all the problems with Through the Gate services that the hon. Member for Bradford East talked about, those services effectively did not exist before 2014. I was at Nottingham prison yesterday. Before 2014, nobody in the prison would have been working on the ​initial five-day assessment and the pre-12-week assessment to ensure that prisoners are properly co-ordinated Through the Gate. The CRC is now embedded in the building. It is also true that, even before 2014, there were sadly a number of issues with people coming out of prison, reoffending and harming the public.

I take very seriously the complaints that have been made. Those are serious observations by Members of Parliament and the chief inspector, who found and raised powerfully significant problems relating to morale—in particular, staff morale—case load, which the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) raised, and the tragedy when things go wrong. The hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Liz Saville Roberts) described the horrifying situation that happened to her constituent, Conner, when somebody who was supervised under a CRC contract reoffended.

All those things need to be gripped and dealt with. The disagreement between the Government and the Opposition is that, for a number of reasons, I do not believe the question is only whether the service should be provided by the public sector or the private sector. Many of these issues predate the privatisation. There were very significant problems with probation in 2010, 2012 and 2014. It made sense—on this, I defend my predecessors—to try to work out how to deal with some of those stubborn problems, including, first, the absence of any proper Through the Gate services; secondly, the fact that before 2014, 40,000 prolific reoffenders were not supervised at all; and, thirdly, how on earth to deal with the stubborn reoffending rate of 50%. It seemed perfectly justifiable that people would try to think about how we could focus relentlessly on dropping the reoffending rate and on encouraging innovation. Why innovation? Because an enormous number of voluntary-sector organisations and charities around the country have proved that the reoffending rates can be reduced. I was looking at a recent example in Stafford, where a chaplaincy housing project has managed to reduce the reoffending of persistent reoffenders—a very tough group to work with—from 50% to what appears to be about 17%. There are similar examples, such as the Clink restaurant in Brixton Prison. Meeting people at the gate, finding them a job and putting them into the catering industry reduces reoffending dramatically. The idea of the reform was to try to bring some of those new ideas into the system.

Jenny Chapman
The Minister is trying to be helpful in acknowledging our points, but I want to challenge him. He is arguing that trusts were not innovative, but they absolutely were. He talks about the Clink and other examples. There are always pockets of absolutely excellent practice that have amazing successes, but the challenge is mainstreaming that, and getting it out so that it is the norm and not the exception. This reform has made that more difficult. Rather than analysing where we are, I hope the Minister will move on to tell us where he intends to take us next.

Rory Stewart
That is a very good challenge, and I will move on to the question of the voluntary sector and how to take good small examples to a bigger scale.

The challenge is what on earth to do about that. How do we address the problems? The fundamental thing is to get back to the basics, which are exactly what ​hon. Members in the Chamber have discussed. Basics include ensuring that people have a manageable case load, which means not going beyond 50 to 55 cases. They must meet the people in the cases regularly; they must ensure that they not only meet them but put in place a good assessment of the needs of the individual and of public protection; and they must come up with a plan linking that assessment to action. That is before we go on to the other things that we have been discussing, which is how we work with the voluntary sector and wider society. The basics need to happen first.

Around the country we can see that some people are delivering those basics well. Cumbria, for example, which has a CRC, has a good report from the inspectors for doing that. London, as the hon. Member for Lewisham West and Penge knows well, got a negative report from the inspectors exactly about some of those areas. We will not go into the details and explanations for some of that today. Some are about transition and inheriting a difficult situation, and London has always been difficult for probation services and has more than 30 different boroughs. There are complexities with IT systems and so on. However, we do not want to make excuses. The fundamental question is: can we sort those things out? I believe we can.

I am very confident that we can get to a situation, even in London, which is probably the most difficult area in the country, where we can have manageable case loads, where people can be met regularly, where there is good tracking of offenders—we know where they are and take good enforcement action if they do not turn up to appointments—and where the assessment and the plan are in place. I am very hopeful that, when the next inspection report comes out from the probation inspectorate, we will see those improvements even in London. I expect to be held accountable if those improvements are not recorded in the next report.

Liz Saville Roberts
I am interested in what the Minister is saying. Will he commit to ensure proper parliamentary scrutiny of how those organisations operate, whatever their name in future? That is not the case at present.

Rory Stewart
It would be interesting to know what kind of parliamentary scrutiny the hon. Lady means. There are some pretty good examples of scrutiny—the Justice Committee is doing a report on the probation service and we have an incredibly active, energetic and highly critical chief inspector of probation who is doing an enormously good job which is drawn on by everyone around the Chamber—but I am open to more. Debates such as this one are very powerful ways to hold us to account.

The next issue, as we move on from addressing the basics, is to look at some of the questions the hon. Member for Darlington talked about, in particular how we scale up pockets of really good small practice in individual local areas. That seems to be a huge challenge for everything—not just probation but everything we do with the voluntary sector. It is infuriating to find in most of our constituencies good local providers being pushed out either by contractors coming in from elsewhere or by large charities and voluntary sector organisations. ​In my case, in Cumbria, they appear to come up from London with hundreds of proposal writers to take over a local council contract, but lack the local skills and knowledge to deliver.

We need to find ways to encourage CRCs to provide both the money that could go to those voluntary organisations—for example, in housing—and the cultural change, as the hon. Member for Darlington is aware, which is to encourage probation officers to let go of the cases to let specialist providers in mental health or housing take over their clients. That can be done but it must be driven through individual CRC by individual CRC. However, that is just the beginning. The big aim is to move from what happens with the individual in the probation office to what happens in broader society.

The real reason we have faced reoffending rates stubbornly stuck at 50% for nearly 40 years is that, in the end, the behaviour of someone coming out of prison is not controlled simply by what happens in the interaction with the probation officer or, when in prison, the prison officer. That is a very individual psychological engagement. What tends to happen is that the probation officer tries to change the behaviour of the individual in the room. However, that individual exists not only in the room but in a broader society. Unless such individuals can repair their relationships with family, society and the state, we will not get into a cycle in which they offend less or, eventually, do not offend at all.

That involves difficult things, with the individual feeling a sense of hope and agency; and that they can take control of their lives and have a sense of dignified participation, not as a labelled criminal but as a citizen in the fullest sense in society. No one in the Chamber has easy answers to how to achieve those things, but we must focus on ensuring that we get everything right, from the basics of meeting, assessment and planning, right through to the broader engagement with society to make that citizen function. We must recognise that the idea of desistance is not a linear path, but it is a path to reduce reoffending and protect the public.

I will conclude with three remarks. First, I pay tribute to the very hard work of probation officers. They are some of our most dedicated and serious professionals. Yesterday in Nottingham Prison I was lucky enough to see the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland CRC—people who have worked in probation trusts for nearly 30 years. They are based in the prison, telling very powerful stories about the assistance they provide in housing, and they represent exactly why we should be so proud of the work that probation officers do. They have difficult work which, as hon. Members have pointed out, combines the work of a social worker with that of someone who has to implement a court order and protect the public.

Secondly, I pay tribute to Members of Parliament. Their work in this area is often ignored by the public and, sometimes, too much ignored by Parliament. Such work matters deeply, as the hon. Member for Strangford pointed out, both for the individuals themselves on their journey towards improvement, and for the public.

Finally, I undertake to the House that we must focus. The results that we are getting from the inspectors are simply not good enough. I wish to be judged on driving the CRCs back to the very basics of their task, and on opening up to all the innovations and new ideas shared ​around the Chamber, to ensure that 40 years of stubborn rates of reoffending begin to be addressed, for the sake of individual offenders and the public as a whole.


Finally, here is Frances Crook giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee:-

"The failure of probation privatisation in Wales is feeding the crime problem, creating more victims, costing the taxpayer a fortune, and putting people into the prison system"


  1. What the hell is a”NPS responsible officers”. Can these people not say PROBATION OFFICER!?

    PCC’s would be no different from private companies running probation.Theyre all about ‘revenue streams’ and all the seperate parts will be hived off, buildings abandoned and we’ll have little back rooms in police stations where we’re slowly morphed into police cultures.

    1. The 2014 Offender Rehabilitation Act is splattered with references to "responsible officer" making no distinction between CRCs and NPS with regard to RO's as far as I can tell in a brief scan.

      Of similar relevance might be why do media and even more importantly Parliament make so few references to Probation Service Officers?


      This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).
      18Duty to obtain permission before changing residence

      (1)The Criminal Justice Act 2003 is amended as follows.

      (2)After section 220 insert—
      “220ADuty to obtain permission before changing residence

      (1)An offender in respect of whom a relevant order is in force must not change residence without permission given in accordance with this section by—

      (a)the responsible officer, or

      (b)a court.

      (2)The appropriate court may, on an application by the offender, give permission in a case in which the responsible officer has refused.

      (3)A court may also give permission in any proceedings before it under Schedule 8 or 12 (breach or amendment of orders etc).

      (4)The grounds on which the responsible officer or court may refuse an application for permission are that, in the opinion of the officer or court, the change in residence—"

    2. I have some misgivings re PCCs as well, though they may not be quite as clueless as the MOJ. I think the idea is that MOJ and PCCs run the whole lot together. Imagine the chaos. Still, perhaps the PCC and the MOJ would entertain each other. That would take a bit of pressure off the workers, leave them in peace to get on with the task in hand. But where do the CRCs come into this? Will it mean not just one or two masters, but three? Re the back room in police station , this would be a possible scenario were it not for the attack on police funding which has seen a number of police stations closing down. Perhaps the operations will take place in the local shopping malls instead.

    3. My contract says “Probation Officer”, which is what I’m ‘qualified’ as.

    4. I recently went to a training event. All the PSO's introduced themselves as Responsible Officers, all the PO's introduced themselves as Probation Officers.

    5. I always state I am a Probation Officer not OM

    6. No one is a PO anymore wake up ! You gave it up a long while back and we all know there is no extra value in a PO role these days apart from extra money for nowt extra I can see in my daily responsible officer case manager role.

  2. Huff Post has an article about Ministers giving large bung to CRC's but not ensuring extra staff etc for £££:

  3. My understanding is that the term 'responsible officers' was introduced in an effort to eliminate the distinction between POs and PSOs in order to allow the gradual disappearance of the professional status of POs. This would, in turn, make it possible for CRCs to do the job on the cheap without having to contend with the arguments around 'PSOs can't do this. PSOs can't do that'. If we are all ROs, gradually, everyone will become a PSO and the wage bills decrease leaving more for the profiteers.

    1. All court orders since the introduction of the 2003 CJA refeered to the “superving officer” and did not say PO or PSO. The 2014 Act refers to the “Responsible Officer” . Whoever manages the case ( and in this day and age that can change very quickly) is the defacto RO. whatever chair you occupy, be it P.O./PSO, case manager or senior case manager is irrelevant in the eyes of the law.
      Re PCC’s ; I have in previous posts, advocated they are the best on offer of a pretty bad bunch, but I am from Liverpool and we are (except for Southport which is on the periphery of Merseyside), a Tory free zone and will be for generations to come. We would be happy to declare UDI if we could.....

  4. This issue about partnership working versus one agency being swallowed up by another: to have an impact in a partnership situation probation would need to be conscious of its own identity and promote this in such practical ways and with such distinctive outcomes that its value would be recognised and respected by its partners.,But if probation staff have allowed themselves to be bullied and pushed about for years then that strong sense of identity and practice will not come to the fore and they will be swallowed up. In my experience Police officers have been known to be happy to work constructively with probation staff and because of interaction with probation some have come to recognise the person behind the offence, the value of rehabilitation and the skill required in working together with your service user to that end. But for this to happen probation staff have to be sure about their own value and so do their managers.

    1. Partnership working is vital to probation and to rehabilitation as a whole.
      But I think the partnerships should be between agencies that have an equal status and their own particular identity.
      For example the creation of NOMS saw a probation service heavily influenced and shaped by a prison service approach to rehabilitation. I don't want to say that different agencies shouldn't adapt or adopt best practices from partner agencies, but that all agencies should not be independent in its own ideology and working practices.
      With that said, I'm unsure about devolving criminal justice issues to local PCCs. I think firstly that such a request is not founded in improving justice services, but more focused on downloading local funding.
      Secondly, I worry about where it might lead. Some PCCs are involved in really progressive attitudes and approaches on drug use, yet other regions are imposing huge fines on the homeless for sleeping in doorways.
      Devolving justice matters to PCCs will surely create an Americanised model where the 'sheriff' of the region has the freedom to decide what way the law should be applied and what punishment any infringment should attract.
      Devolving justice services would create far too many regional differences.



  6. I've worked (and still do) with and alongside the Police for over 10 years. They are most definitely NOT the people/organisation we want running Probation! If not for the fact I'm on my phone and don't have my specs' I'd spell out in great detail as to why. However, nest feathering, nepotism, institutional racist and sexism and a inability to heed advice from those below them are only a few of the many many many reasons as to why I think this.

    1. 1622 I completely agree add I to have worked very closely with the police who at the drop off a hat want people recalled even when there's insufficient evidence to do so - they have a completely different ethos than Probation.

    2. POLICE all bent in the 60s WORSE in the 70s SPG violent and openly so in the 80s. Brief accountability in the 90s and since the masons alerts they are a covert dirty dishonest lying and malevolent bunch of dire culture. We all know that blind eyes are turned . To be fair there are some genuine officers but these are the minority never the culture. No Police no skill.

    3. The also beat up innocent Miners and then lied and watched the complicity of their blue line chums hide for decades having invented the total LIES of Hillsborough NO SHAME
      That said they do a great job and run to save people from terror and the awful tragedy in some balance so would we all, but they do and that's the good bit

  7. Sorry but there are a lot of excellent Police Officer’s out there who are experts when it comes to crime. Really doesn’t sit right with me these kind of remarks. There are arguments as to why Police should not run Probation but let’s drop the claims of superiority. Clients wouldn’t share anything if they felt the Police could access the lot. The only country that has the Police run Probation is the USA and Probation is a pure enforcement service out there. Yes there are some police who are not very good but that is true of many jobs out there including probation.

    1. “Excellent - pah! No there is not!

  8. #probationofficersmatter28 February 2018 at 21:29

    PCC’s and police culture taking over probation a huge mistake, probably worse than the years of servitude to prisons and NOMS.

    I once met a decent police officer in 1997 before I joined probation. Working in probation I’ve met a total of one decent police officer. Apart from these two, not saying all the rest are cunts, racist, corrupt, arrogant know-it-all’s, but most are.

    I encourage PROBATION OFFICERS to amend letter formats and introduce themselves at meetings, parole hearings, to state this. We worked hard for this title, not Offender Manager, Responsible Officer, or Case Manager.

    If our Jim had big balls he’d start a for everyone to put their Probation Officer title and qualification in email signatures. Test this blogs influence and see how the MoJ likes that.

    1. Oh dear 21:29, really! Is that the best you can offer to this debate. your ACAB t-shirt and a copy of the morning star in your back pocket. Behave....

  9. Had an email from a police officer recently, who lied about a Service user pleading guilty, just to try and get him recalled!

  10. Does anyone know what Probation stands for anymore? Seriously what is it? You better spell it out soon or your fossils will be the subject of a niche and limited history club. Who are your leaders? Collectively where are they leading you? Is Probation just a sign above the door? What does it mean? That others are imagining Probation here or there, making claim to it, seems to suggest you are truly adrift. Come on, shake yourselves out of your slumber, time is not your friend.

    1. You should run for NAPO leadership they have taken everything backwards .

  11. The Police service operate on a top down command and control basis. Constable does exactly what the sergeant says, the sergeant does exactly what the inspector says and so on up the chain of command. There is no opportunity for rational discussion, challenge to a particular stance or even point out blatant sexism, homophobia, racism or other unsavoury traits. Anyone who "splits" on a fellow policeman had better beware - it just isn't done. Given this scenario it is impossible to see how any Probation staff could work within a police environment as the two are totally incompatible. The police say their job is to catch criminals and send them to prison whereas Probation's job is to "mollycoddle" clients and do everything they can to keep them out of prison. Not the basis for any sort of marriage.