The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Offenders given probation go on to murder and rape

- By Charles Hymas

CRIMINALS on probation are committing more than 120 serious offences including murder, rape and kidnap every year, Ministry of Justice data show.

The figures, covering the decade since 2010, reveal that more than 1,500 criminals in England and Wales have gone on to commit murder, rape and kidnap while under community supervisio­n since 2010. This includes 197 murders across the same period.

The data, obtained by the Labour Party, follow a string of scandals where the risks posed by offenders were wrongly assessed by probation and prison officials.

Damien Bendall, 33, was classed as “medium risk” and freed on a suspended sentence before he went on to kill his partner Terri Harris and three children, one of whom was sleeping over at their house in Killamarsh, Derbyshire.

Instead of being sent to jail by the judge, he was allowed to live with Ms Harris and her young children on an “entirely inappropri­ate” curfew, supervised by a probation officer who had just six months’ experience of working in the criminal justice system.

Labour said the figures shed light on the failure of the probation services to break the cycle of crime due to poor supervisio­n, and chronic staff shortages with a shortfall of 1,771 officers, according to the latest workforce statistics.

It follows research that found inadequate supervisio­n of community sentences. Figures show that criminals had failed to complete 16 million hours of community service since 2014.

Labour has proposed setting up community

The number of criminals who have committed murder, rape and kidnap while on probation since 2010

and victim payback boards that would oversee community sentences to ensure offenders carried out the work and were suitably supervised.

A Conservati­ve spokesman said: “Thanks to the actions of this Conservati­ve Government, crime is down, reoffendin­g is down and dangerous criminals are spending longer behind bars.

“The Labour Party have opposed our measures to protect the public at every opportunit­y. They cannot be trusted with our criminal justice system.”

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