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“When do you get the orange suits, Chris, the offender jump suits the Government want us to wear? I’m not wearing one of those.”

I answer quite simply… “We’re not going to have them here.”

And I am just thinking this may be a good time to encourage a conversation, an exploration about punishment (not LandWorks) versus resettlement support (very much LandWorks).

I’m keen to press home the point that I don’t believe punishment really works, but understanding, acceptance and trust does…

But the questioner is too quick…

“So, it sounds like the Government don’t think women are any good as Probation Officers and they need men. More men, cos woman is not up to it, I could have told them that.”

Oh, brilliant and thank you social media! Having watched Happy Valley, I now model myself on Sarah Lancashire’s (very experienced) character and in testing situations I remain calm, completely calm…

The new Chief Probation Officer for England and Wales has recently made a comment about the need to increase the low numbers of men in the profession. She said, “It would help to bring a male perspective in some cases involving violent offenders, including cases of domestic abuse.”

I guess I can see how this comment might be misinterpreted as, “Women aren’t up to the job.”

I think carefully before replying, “In my opinion the real issue is that over the last decade there has been a huge loss of very experienced officers and perhaps we should now be focusing on how we enable, educate and support all new recruits.”

To try and move our conversation along I say, “So, I noticed you love to wear our Hi-Vis orange vests.”

“Err, well, er…”

“And the trousers, all the orange Hi-Vis kit.”

“Yeah, that shows I know what I’m doing.”

I bite my tongue and point out… “Of course, Hi-Vis is gender neutral.”


13th April 2023