TORY minister Sam Gyimah snubbed probation officers yesterday by refusing to address their conference. His predecessor Andrew Selous was due to speak at the annual general meeting of probation and family courts union Napo, but Mr Gyimah made excuses for the entirety of the three-day event. Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said: “The probation service is in chaos. Private providers are not delivering even a basic service in some areas and the National Probation Service (NPS) is under immense strain. “It is therefore very disappointing that the minister was unable to accept our invitation to Napo AGM. “He could have heard first-hand how our members are being affected on a daily basis and have had the opportunity to set out his plans for moving the service forward. “We hope that future events and engagements with Napo are seen as a priority over the next critical months.” Delegates were instead given the opportunity to grill NPS director Sonia Crozier at yesterday afternoon’s session. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice had not commented by the time of going to press. Relations between the government and probation officers have been highly strained since the 2010-15 Con-Dem coalition part-privatised the service. Only the most high-risk offenders are dealt with by the publicly controlled NPS, with privately run community rehabilitation companies handling the rest.