Whilst your reporting (Courant, February 13) of the Home Office Inspectorate of Probation audit findings is accurate in ‘requiring improvement’, it may also be worth highlighting that this report comes at a time when the service is experiencing the damage brought about by the Government’s part-privatisation of probation.

The Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) experienced redundancies and restructure which has resulted in fewer CRC staff working under increasing pressure to meet targets, and provide a service to help keep the public safe.

Case loads of 80-plus is the norm, and the thought that staff do not have ‘professional curiosity’ or the desire to carry out home visits must be weighed against this pressure. 

There is a misunderstanding, generally, that medium and low risk offenders are simpler cases to deal with: this could not be further from the truth and many have complex needs which require structured intensive interventions. 

With fewer staff and more cases, this becomes increasingly challenging.

CRC staff are committed to help people make changes to their lives, providing a conscientious and professional service. 

The work they do with the little resources they have is largely misunderstood and grossly under-valued.



UK an example

The Hexham Courant's letters page continues to be incredibly biased - do they only publish after approval by Brussels and Momentum?

Brexit supporters have varied views on many issues but agree on one thing: we should be governed by parliamentary democracy inside the UK and not by unelected foreign "elite" bureaucrats.

It is such a simple, basic demand.

Our departure will weaken the EU and give hope to many Eurosceptics in various European countries that they too can fight the stranglehold of the EU and manage, like the UK, not to resort to extremist parties to do so.

To see extreme right wing in mainstream opinion, visit EU founding members Germany, Austria and Italy, not moderate Britain.

Here in the UK, we have an extremist left wing party, masquerading as a moderate traditional party.

Before the recent election, many Jews and business people were poised to leave the country, because of the Labour Party.

I would like to see the Courant publishing a range of letters more representative of public opinion, given the results of the last election and also last year's Euro elections.