Thousands of hours of community service wiped due to not being completed in time

A backlog of 100,000 hours of work owed are by offenders in some areas of the UK, according to Labour

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There is a backlog of up to 100,000 hours of unpaid work owed by offenders in some parts of the UK, Labour has said.

Shadow Justice Minister Ellie Reeves told the Commons: "Unpaid work gives offenders a chance to pay back to their communities, but huge workloads and staff shortages in the probation service means that in some areas, there’s a backlog of up to 100,000 hours owed by offenders.

Ellie Reeves
Ellie Reeves
Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse meets police officers in Peterborough, during the national Operation Sceptre campaign, a week of intensive activity to tackle knife crime.
Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse meets police officers in Peterborough, during the national Operation Sceptre campaign, a week of intensive activity to tackle knife crime.

"And some have even had their hours wiped because they’re not completed in time. Isn’t this just another example of our broken justice system?

"A system that lets offenders off whilst victims pay the price? When will the Government get serious and fix this?"

Justice minister Kit Malthouse replied: "Well, it is very sad that the honourable lady isn’t celebrating the achievements of the probation service, which is expanding.

"We are recruiting particularly 500 new community supervisors, so that we can get on top of some of the Covid-related backlog in unpaid work.

“We have got eight million hours to hit, we have got thousands of offenders out there in high-vis jackets doing the work, particularly environmental work with organisations like the Canal & River Trust.

"This of course was a scheme when the Prime Minister promoted that the opposition condemned and said was somehow inhuman.

“Actually what we are seeing is day in day out all our communities across the United Kingdom seeing justice being done by these offenders, and that is set to grow.”