http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/ ... sfeed=trueProbation officers to be replaced by electronic kiosks in pilot scheme
Napo, the probation union, warns that the plan is designed to cut jobs and could increase risk to the public
* Jamie Doward
* guardian.co.uk, Saturday 28 April 2012 22.14 BST
Unions are furious with government plans that will see offenders released from prison and those serving community sentences reporting to electronic kiosks rather than probation officers.
They are warning that the move, which will be introduced in a pilot scheme to be run in two London boroughs, Bexley and Bromley, and will be expanded across the capital if successful, could put the public at greater risk and is designed to cut staff numbers. But the government has defended the scheme, which will run from June until the end of the year, saying it will let probation officers spend more time with offenders.
Under the plan, offenders will log into the purple machines, located in probation service offices, using fingerprints. Biometric reporting, as it is known, is used in the US, where the machines interact with up to 300 offenders.