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Lawyers and probation officers strike over privatisation scheme

Ministry of Justice plans to sell off 70% of the probation service

Lawyers and probation officers across England and Wales went on strike yesterday to fight the Tories’ bid to privatise the justice system.

Around 200 people mounted a picket line outside central London’s Westminster magistrates’ court before heading to a bigger demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice headquarters.

Up to 14,000 probation officers and lawyers are holding a joint two-day strike against ideologically driven plans to privatise 70 per cent of the probation service alongside savage legal aid cuts.

They warn that the changes will lead to miscarriages of justice.

Probation officer Jaclyn McGlasson, who was at the demonstration, said staff were worried that the service would not be safe.

“It’s being rushed through with no forethought.”

Despite the worry Ms McGlasson said officers are compiling further evidence to exemplify just how dangerous Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's plans are.

She said: “There’s still a lot to fight for. We are expected to put things into practice that are untried and untested. We are going to get more evidence and put our fingers exactly on what’s not working.”

Unions, opposition MPs, charities, academics and professionals from across the justice sector have all slammed the

The Tories seem to be the only people who are unconcerned by privatisation and austerity measures within the justice system.

Unions, opposition MPs, charities, academics and professionals from across the justice sector have all stood firm in condemning the moves.

Matt Foot, founder of the Justice Alliance which represents lawyers and law firms across the country, said: “This is the first day in history when solicitors and probation have taken joint action not to work the courts.

“They are united against a Minister of Justice who is listening to no-one, not even government funded reports. He is obsessed with private companies and is being dangerous and foolish with justice.

“All but the rich will suffer — which is why we are united and determined to stop him.”

Ian Lawrence, general secretary of the probation officers union Napo, was at the picket line yesterday.

He said: “This government’s attack on the justice system has already led to families being disadvantaged from cuts to civil legal aid.

“Now we are seeing the dismantling of one of the best-performing public services in the country — all 35 Probation Trusts are performing to a good or very good standard.

“These reforms are ideologically driven. It will cost the public in terms of both safety and taxpayers’ money”


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