Our over-riding aim is to reduce reoffending and protect the public.
I qualified mid 2012, after coming to probation as an administrator in both probation offices and Crown Courts. I started my working life in the banking sector and I was looking for a change. My degree is in criminology, so this is an area I’ve always wanted to work in – so training to be a probation office was a natural progression. I love it. No two days are ever the same and I love the daily challenges my job presents.
My day begins at 7.45am when I arrive in the office and sit down and check my emails and catch up on anything that comes in overnight. Depending upon whether anything is urgent, I may have to reorganise my day.
Around 8.30am I wrote a letter of recommendation for a client that finished their suspended sentence, who wanted to get their licence back early following completion of a Drink Impaired Drivers programme.
At 9.30am I get up from desk and grab a coffee and then get on with writing reports until 11am, when I have my first appointment. As a morning person, I find this to be my most productive time of the day.
I see three to four people per day from Tuesday to Thursday. The appointments last around 30 minutes, unless a client wants to talk through problems.
Generally clients have appointment weekly, bi weekly or monthly depending upon close supervision they require. I keep Fridays and Mondays as clear as I can so I can write these up. In between my appointments I write up meeting notes on the computer system.
Somewhere between 12pm and 2pm, I grab lunch and eat it at my desk.
At 2pm, I meet a client to go shopping. He has been in a hostel for a long time, and has recently been given housing by his local authority. The Sherriff and Recorders Fund at the Old Bailey gave him a grant of £100, to go towards household items – so it is my job to keep hold of the money until he has purchased what he needed. We went shopping for a microwave and kettle. It was a good chance to catch up in an informal setting.
For the rest of the day I finish reports, complete OASys reviews, reply to emails, return phone calls and check my diary to make sure I am prepared for the next day.
I love the responsibility of being a Probation Officer. I’m glad I retrained. I wanted something to test my brain, and although the job can be daunting at times, I love the feeling of helping people move their lives in the right direction.”
“I’m trying to change my life. In six months time I want to be in a better flat and be working.”
Peer pressure from his mates got Robert into a pattern of shoplifting and street crime, funding possessions that he couldn’t possibly ask his mum for. When he started taking drugs his offending behaviour escalated.
With the support of his probation service officer and gaining a sense of purpose through Community Payback and volunteering he began to break the revolving pattern of custody and reoffending. Read Robert’s full story.