Friday, September 03, 2010

It's Schadenfreude Time ...

Heh :
Supervisors of offenders on unpaid work schemes are increasingly being subjected to threats, and verbal and physical abuse, with many complaining of feeling intimidated and afraid, according to a new survey.

The report, by the probation officers' union, Napo, details hundreds of incidents in London, Merseyside and Hertfordshire over recent months. In Hertfordshire, one offender told a male supervisor he was going to kill him and rape his four-year-old-daughter. Another slashed the car tyres of a female supervisor and told her: "I know here you live and I'm going to get you and your family."

At least two supervisors have had to lock themselves in a vehicle to escape physical violence and one member of staff was left cut and bleeding after a stone was thrown at him by an offender.

The situation has become so serious that a protection system has been set up for supervisors in the south-west of England.

But ... I thought these were the guys who didn't need to go to prison - the nice chaps that Ken Clarke knew how to deal with !

You can see why so many probation supervisors allow their charges to sit around and do damn-all except skin up - as this ITV programme (available for next 25 days) shows us. The report (download is Word doc) is exceeding revealing of just how much contempt the 'clients' have for the organs of the state :

An offender was instructed to work on a garden site and clear weeds. Later in the day the supervisor used the gents toilet, was not able to get out and it became apparent this was because the offender was holding the door shut. Eventually the supervisor managed to get out of the toilet. The offender told him it was a joke. He was told this sort of behaviour was not acceptable. The offender became very aggressive and started to shout at the supervisor saying ‘You don’t know what we do here. Don’t look at me like that, I am going to thump you now you ******* idiot. Are you going to breach me? You can’t do a ******* thing’.

Can't do a thing, eh ?

"The offender was subsequently sent home".

That chap might be a scumbag, but there's nothing wrong with his powers of analysis, nor with those of the criminal who asked his supervisor "why don't you get a proper job you fat ****?"

There is of course a subtext to all this. NAPO wouldn't give the people who pay their wages such a revealing glimpse of what goes on, were there not a pressing need to increase the number of probation officers and to pay them more.

Community service came into being in 1976. The idea was that as an alternative to custody offenders would complete up to 240 unpaid hours of work in the community. The thinking then was that the work would contribute toward rehabilitation, that it would not replace paid employment and that it would be of benefit to the community. Last year over 55,000 individuals were sentenced to unpaid work in the community. About a third were given individual placements, such as in a charity shop, the rest were given group work placements. However Napo has observed that groups that were originally supposed to be at a ratio of one supervisor to six offenders have grown; often over a dozen offenders now attend one group with the same number of supervisors. Staff have also complained that it is now rare to have a probation officer (or even a probation service officer, who has less training) on site. Indeed, placements are increasingly staff by sessional workers who are not contracted employees but are paid on an hourly rate. Often the only contact the offenders have with the service is through hourly-paid, sessional, supervisors who are paid on average £8.50 per hour and who often have full-time paid work elsewhere and use the unpaid work to supplement their income... sessional supervisors are increasingly reporting that they are scared on site and reluctant to report bad behaviour for fear of reprisals.

The report shows not only the increasing anarchy in the non-custodial criminal justice system, but the increasing influence of non-anarchist actors - gangs - in the inner city :

The most recent serious incident occurred on 31 July in Hackney where, as a 19-year-old offender was leaving the community service site at Brook House College in London E5, he was shot five times by an assailant using a handgun...It is thought quite possible that one of the offenders on the group phoned the assailant with relevant information. All the offenders on the placement have been interviewed by officers from Trident. This follows two other recent incidents in North London... Staff are now unable to send known gang members to do placements other than in the individual’s postal district. There are similar constraints on placements in other cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Note also that the guys getting the crap are at the £8.50 an hour end of the spectrum. If Rod Morgan or Professor Peter King got threatened or had their tyres slashed on a more regular basis I like to think we'd see some radical new crime reduction initiatives being proposed.


Mark said...

'That chap might be a scumbag, but there's nothing wrong with his powers of analysis'.

This point has been made repeatedly by the great Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels)when recollecting his time as a prison doctor. The crims know how the system works, and have nothing but contempt for the do-gooding jobsworths who try to implement it.

'If Rod Morgan or Professor Peter King got threatened or had their tyres slashed on a more regular basis I like to think we'd see some radical new crime reduction initiatives being proposed'.

How very true.

AgainsTTheWall said...

Bit-by-bit the managed breakdown of the UK continues. Liberals and their Marxist ideology have no answer because of course they are (and it is) the problem.

It would nice to know the ethnicity of the worst miscreants. Im willing to bet that Subcons and Blacks are over represented.

Working Class Geezer said...


I recently drove past a group of these (who were painting a rather long school fence) which was composed of the following: two English lads (blond cropped hair), a handful of half-castes, a half dozen or so of africans, and a peppering of indian subcontinentals - so your guess was right, at least as far as my part of North London is concerned. I just hope the two English lads see sense.

Anonymous said...

Staff have also complained that it is now rare to have a probation officer (or even a probation service officer, who has less training) on site.

In fact the PSOs are the ones who are more clued up, they deal with the scumbags on a day-to-day basis. POs dont have more 'training', they have more academic qualifications. The 'training' to become a PO is largely classroom based, academic work, essays etc. There is no way in which they are better prepared to handle truculent offenders than a PSO or a supervisor. Other than personal qualities they already have or have acquired in the job. Qualities which are just as likely to manifest in the PSOs and supervisors.

They do have one advantage, a bit more clout and authority, but thats nothing to do with training.

Anonymous said...

Working Class Geezer said...

a handful of half-castes,

Tut, tut. Surely you mean mixed-race?

Sgt Troy said...

Time to bring back the halter, the birch, the treadmill, bread and water diets and picking oakum

That's the liberals sorted out, god knows what should be done about petty criminal offenders though

Jim Brown said...

The trouble with CS is, just like probation itself, the government and likes of Louise Casey turned it from rehabilitation to punishment. From advise, assist and befriend' to 'punish, lecture and monitor'. It doesn't work and never will - ask any old-style social work trained probation officer - like me in fact!

Laban said...

Jim, if you can give me chapter and verse on how the 'old-style' probation officer could stop reoffending, please do so. It'll have to be pretty old-style, though, given that crime has risen tenfold (i.e. 1,000 per cent) over the last 55 years.

Anonymous said...

The Mrs is a PSO and before that supervised community service work parties. Thus in the eyes of the probation service is not well trained enough to be a probation officer. Mere hands on if! Thats all very well but if you cant write an essay imbued ith cultural marxism how are you going to reduce crime!

As far as I can tell a portion of those on community service were drink drivers or guys who had a punch up in the pub etc. I would annoy her by saying they were not 'real' criminals. I feel vindiated to some extent as it seemed like they turned up, did what they were told (worked), did their time and were not heard from again.

The regular young scrotes otoh would show up again and again due to all manner of stupid petty (and not so petty) offences. She could tell they were stupid beause a) They kept doing whatever it was. b) Kept getting caught doing whatever it was. c) This is the killer - they actually expressed a preference for going to prison! More street cred with the lads i.e. other stupid people, and less work. (maybe not so stupid then).