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Private companies to run probation services

Private companies to run probation services

Chris Grayling has defended his plans to privatise the bulk of probation services, insisting difficult offenders will not be ignored after the move.

Probation officers' union Napo said the move would create chaos and "compromise public protection", while Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank expressed fears that plans to pay the private companies by results would mean it would be difficult to deal with "damaged" individuals.

But the Justice Secretary said private providers would have a "duty" to abide by orders from the court.

Speaking to the Today programme, he added: "We’ve got to price it carefully to make sure the most difficult offenders aren’t dumped in a corner."

Labour has accused the Government of not properly assessing the evidence of the policy before pushing ahead with it after the Government cancelled two pilots of similar programmes.

But in a statement in the Commons this afternoon, Mr Grayling argued the last administration had been wrongly “obsessed” with testing policies before implementing them.

"The last Government was obsessed with pilots. Sometimes you just have to believe in something and do it,” he said.

Labour MP Graham Allen, chair of the Early Intervention Foundation, also lent his backing to the scheme, saying any moves aimed at integrating former offenders into society were to be welcomed.

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