UNION FEARS OF PROBATION CUTS.Byline: TONY BARRETT
UNION officials today claimed cuts of more than pounds 1mfrom the Merseyside probation service budget are stretching the service to ``breaking point''.
The National Association of Probation Officers says the service is being undermined as staff are moved away from front line duties.
They also fear the service will be unable to cope as the courts make increasing use of community rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. orders in line with government demands.
Barry O'Doherty,NAPO branch secretary on Merseyside, said: ``The pressures on our members are enormous.
``An independent staff survey last year showed that the vast majority felt overworked and under stress.
``Since that survey the situation has reached breaking point with massive budget cuts, reorganisation Noun 1. reorganisation - the imposition of a new organization; organizing differently (often involving extensive and drastic changes); "a committee was appointed to oversee the reorganization of the curriculum"; "top officials were forced out in the cabinet and introduction of the National Offender Management Service and privatisation Noun 1. privatisation - changing something from state to private ownership or control
denationalisation, denationalization, privatization
social control - control exerted (actively or passively) by group action .''
But John Stafford John Stafford may refer to:
He said: ``The original 2004/ 05 Merseyside budget settlement was a difficult one,but has now been increased by the Home Office by pounds 500,000 with an additional pounds 200,000 as a bonus for Merseyside's improved performance in 2003/04.
``Over the next few weeks, up to 10 probation officers are to be placed in Liverpool prison,on new joint schemes with the police to tackle prolific offenders and with the newly formed Criminal Justice Intervention Teams dealing with drug misusing offenders.
``We are anticipating an increase of 35 graduating probation officers in October 2004 with some additional recruitment of operational support staff.
``The financial position remains tight and staffing is stretched particularly over the summer period but there should not be any significant reduction in the supervision of offenders.''