October 25, 2011 11:17 AM

Andy Humphriss, Community Payback Manager; Mohammed Farooq, Assistant Chief Executive; Phil Saunders, Probation Operations Manager; Eloise Berry, Probation Operations Manager; Mandy Phillips, Probation Operations ManagerSTOCKPORT Probation hosted a visit from MP Mark Hunter who met staff as part of a mission to learn more about the work of the service.

The representative for Cheadle was invited to learn about what Greater Manchester Probation Trust does in the borough to reduce re-offending and make the community safer.

During his visit, the Liberal Democrat met with staff and managers.

Mr Hunter said: "I am grateful for the opportunity to visit Stockport Probation. It has re-affirmed my belief in the valuable work and services it provides for the long term benefit of the community, especially when offenders are supported to turn away from an offending lifestyle."

Mohammed Farooq, head of Stockport Probation, was delighted that the
politician took the time to visit probation.

He said: "We discussed a wide range of issues impacting on the criminal justice system and probation. I was greatly impressed by the interest Mr Hunter showed and the talks were extremely productive.

"We took him through what we do from when the offender first gets to court,
to how our staff assess them and write the reports that help guide sentencing and then looked at how we manage offenders on community orders.

"Probation officers explained the process of how we manage risk and very difficult offenders who commit serious offences such as domestic abuse and serious sexual assaults. I think he was struck by the complexity of our work and how demanding it is, both for our offender managers and offenders involved.

"During the visit, Mr Hunter further learned how the probation service has one of the most skilled and highly qualified workforces in the public sector that's so crucial to supporting accurate assessment of risk in difficult circumstances and then managing these offenders through their demanding sentences of punishment in the community.

Mohammed added: "We also discussed the potential impact of introducing competition in the public sector and probation work. The Trust looks forward to competition with confidence but we stressed it was important to keep certain areas of probation work (such as risk, court work and pre sentence assessments) in the public sector. This is really important so that our courts are able to enjoy the benefits of high quality assessments and access to impartial advice to support sentencing".

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