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Figures reveal service burden rising.

PRESSURE is mounting on the West Midlands Probation Service as workers struggle to cope with an increased workload.

Last year, the number of pre-sentence reports produced, which help courts assess how criminals behave and the likely risk of re-offending, increased by 9percent to 16,956, a record for the service.

At the same time, the service has seen its budget reduced by 11percent over the past four years.

"This has been a year of achievement, increased workload, tight resources and fresh responsibilities," said Bill Stephens, committee chairman.

Offenders sentenced to probation orders went up by 5percent to 3,862, with a further 1,551 ordered to comply with combination orders, also up 5percent.

The number of criminals sentenced to community service dropped by 2percent to 2,881.

There was a 14percent increase to 2,390 in the number of prisoners subjected to supervision on licence by the probation service.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 13, 1999
Words:149
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