PROBATION workers in Swindon continued to protest against proposals to privatise the system yesterday in a 24-hour strike.

Workers from Swindon joined hundreds in a dedicated rally in Cardiff in a strike held by the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo).

Planned changes to the existing service could see 70 per cent of offenders outsourced to the private and charitable sector in a restucture Napo members say is dangerous for offenders and members of the public.

Under the new plans only the 30 per cent of offenders most at risk of serious re-offending will continue to be seen by the remaining centrally-run public sector arm of the service, known as the National Probation Service.

Albertine Davies, the secretary for the Napo in Swindon, said: “As far as we are concerned this is a matter of life and death. As it stands we have one service which deals with everyone. With repeat offenders we are able to build up an understanding of them so if they go through a bad way we can offer help.

“If these changes go through then the person will have to go through a whole new process at a time when they need stability the most. People often assume that we are taking action over pay or jobs but that is not the case.”