HL Deb 29 July 1976 vol 373 cc1619-20WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are satisfied with the strength of the Probation Service, especially in view of:

  1. (1) the crime statistics, particularly among the young;
  2. (2) the potential source of recruitment to the Probation Service offered by the prospect of unemployed trained teachers;
  3. (3) the possible savings which would accrue from any reduction of the prison population if the Probation Service were reinforced and the number of teachers in receipt of unemployment benefit correspondingly reduced;
and, if not, whether they will increase the cadre of the Probation Service if it is already up to strength.


The current strength of the Probation and After-Care Service broadly matches its estimated manpower requirements. I take note of the noble Lord's suggestions although I should emphasise that the recruitment of persons as probation officers normally follows a course of professional training in social work; and the effect on the prison population and the cost of the treatment of offenders of simply increasing the number of probation officers is, as I am sure the noble Lord appreciates, more complex than his Question suggests. The Government share his general view of the importance of the role of the Probation Service and it will certainly receive its proper share of the resources available.