HC Deb 04 February 1959 vol 599 cc89-90W
168. Mr. MacColl

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the probable increase in the number of young people likely to appear before the adult courts arising from the post-war bulge; and what steps he has taken to enlarge the establishment of probation officers to deal with it.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The population between the ages of 17 and 21 will increase by about 35 per cent. by 1967; but I hope there will not be a proportionate increase in the number of such persons coming before the adult courts. The efforts being made by the Probation Advisory and Training Board to recruit as many suitable men and women as possible for training for probation work are meeting with a fair measure of success, and for the past year there have been more students in training than ever before.

Mr. A. Evans

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the average case loads, respectively, of men and women probation officers in London whose case loads are not reduced because they are in part-time employment or who, for some other reason, do not carry full case loads.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I estimate that on 31st December, 1958, the average case loads of the probation officers in question in the Metropolitan Magistrates' Courts Area were: men 69.4, women 44.6.

Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has about the proportion of time given, respectively, to supervising people placed on probation or subject to after-care, and to inquiry and matrimonial work in the Metropolitan Magistrates' Courts; how this compares with the time given to similar duties arising from cases in magistrates' courts in large urban areas; and, in assessing the numbers who can be supervised by each officer, on what basis the relative demands of the differing kinds of work are assessed.

Mr. R. A. Butler

There is insufficient information about the proportion of time given by probation officers to their various duties. An investigation is, therefore, being carried out by the Home Office Research Unit to provide statistical data on the subject, in order that the assessment of officers' work, now made on a general knowledge of their duties, may be reviewed.

Mr. Skeffington

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what survey he has made of the hours worked by probation officers in London; and if he has satisfied himself that these probation officers are not nowadays working hours in excess of what is reasonable by post-war standards.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I am kept fully informed by the Principal Probation Officer of the demands that are being made upon the London Probation Service. The hours of work of probation officers are necessarily irregular, in London as elsewhere, but many London officers are too heavily burdened at present and I am taking special steps to recruit more officers.