I met with Kilvinder Vigurs, the London Director of the Probation Service, on 24 January 2022 to discuss the work of the Probation service in London and the challenges it faces. Having been split a few years ago into a private and public sector service, the service was unified in July 2021 and is once more a national service.
The Probation service has a very wide remit. It involves close collaboration in London with many agencies, such as London borough councils, the Metropolitan Police, the prison service, youth services and the NHS. The Probation service works with prisoners in the period running up to the point of release to assess need and consider victims and prepare a sentence Plan which is monitored by the service. Probation also work with people awaiting trial or a sentence and with those who have been given a community order or released from prison on licence.
The aim is to reduce reoffending and also help counter the root causes of crime, working collaboratively with others, for example on programmes which aim to divert young people away from crime and into job opportunities, training or housing. Programmes to be able to rehouse young people away from areas where they may fall into crime are an important development to enable young people to start on a new path.