Doncaster probation officers on strike today

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Striking probation officers are picketing the Doncaster probation office today as part of their dispute over privatisation.

Almost 40 members of the National Association of Probation Officers based at the Bennetthorpe office walked out at 12pm yesterday and will be on strike until midnight today.

The strike will mean probation reports are not compiled for the Crown and magistrates’ courts and offenders on probation are not being supervised. The union has agreed that probation hostels will be staffed.

Government reforms mean the existing probation service will disappear in June with private companies taking over supervision of less serious offenders.

NAPO deputy convenor Pete Nowell said: “The Probation Service has the best performance of any public sector service - our reoffending rates have come down year on year. They are wanting to privatise half of it without piloting it.”

Defence solicitors in Doncaster are also on strike today in protest at proposed cuts to the legal aid budget for criminal cases.