Hartlepool MP to hand in petition against probation service privatisation

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

HARTLEPOOL’S MP Iain Wright is to present a petition to Parliament against plans to privatise part of the probation service.

Mr Wright is to represent the Hartlepool section of Durham Tees Valley (DTV) Probation Trust when he presents a petition in the House of Commons

The petition, which has been signed by all 28 Hartlepool probation staff and 15 town residents, will be handed to parliament later this month prior to a debate on the Offender Rehabilitation Bill in October.

The petition was formed to show the strength of feeling against the Government’s intentions to abolish the probation service and privatise up to 70 per cent of its work.

Staff believe the move will put the public of Hartlepool at risk.

Mr Wright said: “I don’t think these proposals have been thought through properly at all.

“Most people appreciate that something like the Probation Service, and any risk to the public, should be held in the public sector.

“The idea that somebody should be making a profit out of this is just wrong. The proposals that currently stand are filled with risk. I don’t want to scaremonger in anyway but it is deeply troubling.

“I don’t think the idea has had the attention it deserves.”

He added: “One of the essential parts of the criminal justice system is to be privatised and that’s a big concern for me.”

A spokesman for Durham Tees Valley (DTV) Probation Trust said: “The Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ proposals were subject to widespread consultation — and indeed the trust responded during that consultation process. The Government has now decided to move forward with its proposals. The DTV Probation Trust, together with the other 34 probation trusts across the country, is now working with the Ministry of Justice to implement the reform agenda. Our Trust has an excellent reputation for delivering high quality services that effectively protect the public and reduce re-offending. Over the coming months, we will be working with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that the skills and expertise of our organisation and its staff are deployed in a way that continues to meet the best interests of our communities, service users and staff.”