I trained as a Probation Officer over 20 years ago. I currently work as a Senior Probation Officer within West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (WY CRC).
I supervise a team of staff who have caseloads of offenders who are subject to community orders. We also supervise people in prison and on licence or Post Sentence Supervision on release (meaning people who are sentenced to more than one day in prison then serve 12-months post release on probation).
A large part of my job involves supporting staff in their role of working with people to help them make positive changes to their lives, thereby protecting the public, reducing the number of victims, and empowering the individuals they work with to change for the future. We want our service users to be active, productive members of society, enjoying improved health, better relationships with their families, children and friends, and securing employment and where needed, accommodation. I also work closely with partner agencies to ensure our service users access services tailored to meet their needs.
My role is never dull or boring. Each day brings new challenges. I can find myself working with others to enable a service user to access accommodation or food when in crisis and working with a partner agency to find creative ways to meet service user need through support, treatment or intervention.
COVID-19 has meant we do things differently. However, we maintain a face-to-face role with service users who absolutely require it, based on the risk of harm they pose and their own personal circumstances, where they may be homeless and phoneless. A lot of staff are working remotely and working with their service users via telephone, which creates challenges in how I support my team.
I am inspired by the work of my colleagues to enable individuals to change, as well as their sustained motivation to do a good job in challenging circumstances.
I love the variety of opportunity and experience this role brings. Working in probation throughout my career has brought challenges, new experience, and high rewards. I have the wonderful chance to see service users make positive changes for themselves and their families, for the long-term, and see probation staff work professionally and effectively when presented with challenging behaviour and society’s limited resources, and sometimes unpredictable situations.