HC Deb 02 December 1971 vol 827 cc632-3
9. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many probation officers left the probation service in the year ending 31st October, 1971.

Mr. Carlisle

247 established officers, according to returns so far received from probation authorities, including normal wastage on account of age and sickness, death, resignation for domestic reasons, and losses to other work in the probation field.

Mr. Mitchell

Is not that an alarming feature? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, despite the recent pay increases, the salaries of probation officers compare very unfavourably with those for similar positions in the local authority social service area?

Mr. Carlisle

I do not know what the hon. Member means by "alarming". Obviously we do not welcome any wastage, but some is inevitable through natural causes. I would point out that the figure for the year 31st October, 1971, was 247, for the previous year it was 250 and for the year before that it was 224. I do not think that there is significance in that figure. As to his remarks about pay, he knows that an inquiry is about to start into the matter.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied that there are sufficient probation officers to undertake the new duties which will fall on them by virtue of the new Criminal Justice Bill?

Mr. Carlisle

As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have announced a plan to increase the size of the probation service from 3,500 to 4,700, partly to take up the additional tasks that may be required of them as a result of the successful working in later years of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Bill.