PROBATION services in Gloucestershire are under control following a reorganisation, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner has been assured.

Work on transforming 35 probation trusts nationwide into 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and a new National Probation Service began last month.

Third sector, private sector contractors and mutual companies formed by probation officers will be selected as preferred bidders for contracts by the end of the year.

Recent claims in the media that the new reforms were ‘a risk to public safety’ were discussed during a meeting between the commissioner Martin Surl and John Wiseman, Chief executive for Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire CRC.

“All of our frontline services are operating as usual”, said Mr Wiseman.

“Offenders are being seen in accordance with the requirements of the sentences of the courts. If they fail to comply with those conditions they are brought in and, if necessary, returned to court or directly to prison.

“They are certainly not being left to roam the streets as some of the critics and news reports have suggested.”

Mr Surl added his assurances, saying there are problems with any re-organisation, particularly on this scale.

“I need to be sure the public are not at any extra risk as a result”, he said.

“This is a process that will take the best part of a year and I will be keeping a close eye on how it develops but I was pleased that Mr Wiseman was able to reassure me.

“I want to keep people who live in Gloucestershire as safe as possible and I look forward to developing a productive working relationship with the CRC which has an important role to play in reducing re-offending”.