Cuts will hit sex offender monitoring: Probation Board

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The Probation Board has warned that it will have to cut back on operations to monitor violent and sexual offenders.

The announcement came as the board is due to meet on Friday to discuss planned budget cuts.

It is the latest agency to issue a warning about how a reduction in spending will affect it.

In a statement, its chairwoman Vilma Patterson said the body stands to lose 12 per cent of its funding.

She said that means the budget for 2015-16 will be £16.2m, which is a reduction of over £2m.

“A potential decrease in funding of this magnitude will fundamentally change how we carry out our business,” she said.

“Research shows that investing in probation has the potential to save money throughout the criminal justice system, so these proposed cuts are not only going to impact adversely on probation but also on all of criminal justice.”

She said more than four-fifths of their spending goes on salaries and fixed costs, and that the body is already under-resourced, having been required to make savings for the past four years.

She added: “We will now have to reduce our contribution to a range of multi-agency partnerships including those which manage offenders who have committed certain serious sexual and violent offences...

“In future the resources we supply to this critical area of work will have to be reduced. Public safety remains our priority but we would be remiss if we did not highlight the risks to preventing reoffending and reducing crime which may arise from such significant cuts to our budget.”