If we want the best we gotta demand it!

BBC programme exposes failings in Probation, encounter with homeless man exposes failings in public response

Napo members opposing privatisation 2014

I did something I haven’t done before, I left the car at home and took the bus and then the train. Cee wanted a lie-in so she didn’t want to drive to the station. I didn’t want to drive to Desk so I took the bus to the train station.

That is the thing about me I am a great resister of things that I think I won’t like and then once I get used to them I don’t want to give them up. I know I am repeating myself but there is something about being carried along rather than carrying yourself along. I can gaze at the sky and not worry about crashing!

I have my little routine once I arrive at the station, get a hot drink, sit down read, write, get the cheap day return at 8 55 am, go through the gate, wait for the train, board train, enjoy the 15 minute journey like a smoker enjoys a fag (us:cigarette), step into Luton and the show begins.

There is something much more about mingling with the crowd of commuters, standing in queues, sitting on platforms than driving by oneself.

Last night I fell asleep before I had to chance to watch the Panorama programme on the failures of a split England and Wales Probation service.

I have never watched the telly from my phone before but I did this morning. The programme focussed on the death of two sons, one a young adult the other a 5-year-old. Both were murdered by men under the supervision of Probation in the former case by one of the 21 private companies managing probation and in the later by the retained public sector National Probation Service.

The programme highlighted that if Probation workers are managing excessive caseloads in some cases over 100 there is not only a risk to the health of the worker but to a member of the public. In the two cases highlighted death was the outcome.

It is difficult to be conclusive as to whether a death could have been prevented though when workers are stretched cases will not be adequately managed and risk of serious harm to others will increase.

If as a society we want to be adequately protected we need to demand that of our government which will mean that proper funding and efficient systems are in place to do just that.

Outside of Napo, the Probation union, the government own inspectorate Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) is the most critical.

On my trek to the station tonight I noticed one of the young men who beg was badly beaten. There is a sizeable number of young men begging on the streets. I had to stop. I could see that his clothes were stained with dry blood, his eyes were badly bruised with one eye bloodied and shut. His head was bandaged.

I asked him what had happened? He told me he had been attacked by 5 men the night before. An ambulance was called a First Response vehicle attended. He claimed they bandaged the wound though told him he could make his own way to hospital. He said he slept in the station car park and awoke a few hours later. If this was true that he was not taken to the hospital something has gone wrong. He still looked a mess 20 hours later and may well have had a serious head injury. I called 101 the non-emergency number. It kept ringing for 10 , 15 minutes. I reported my concerns and was told it may take a while for anyone to attend. He got impatient and decided to move on, half an hour later I got a call asking where was he. I was on the train and replied that no one came so he moved on as did I.

Maybe the same applies to the emergency services that apply to Probation, under resourced. He may be homeless though as we would say at home, “ He is someone’s child” if he had been found dead this morning would anyone have cared? I believe a number of people would have cared and that is why we need to demand more.

g ( by the way, in regard to my comments on Probation if anyone asks I am doing so in my capacity as an elected member of Napo’s National Executive Committee (NEC))

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