Dr Alan Billings South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the announcement that supervision of all offenders in England and Wales is to be taken over by the National Probation Service.

He said: “It is hard to resist saying, ‘We told you so’. When the government decided to break the service in two – with high level offenders coming under the National Probation Service (NPS), and lower level under the Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) – nobody thought it was a good idea. Police and Crime Commissioners warned that it potentially put the public at risk, and this has turned out to be true.

“This is yet another flawed decision of Chris Grayling.

“Experience has shown what probation officers, the police and PCCs always knew: that some of the low level offenders could turn into more dangerous criminals and needed the close supervision that the NPS alone could provide. But when they were supervised at the lower level, some went on to commit serious crimes, including rape and murder.

“There is no criticism of the staff of the CRCs or the leadership. They have worked flat out to try to make the current model work. But it was flawed”

“The CRCs were faced with the almost impossible task of recruiting and training big numbers of new staff in a very short period of time. And payment by results was a disastrous method of funding such an important service.

“I welcome the decision for one Probation Service that can make professional judgements about offenders, helping to rehabilitate those who want to turn their lives round, but closely managing those who can’t or won’t.”