PROBATION staff picketed their Oxford office as they continued to strike in protest against Government plans to privatise part of the service.

Workers gathered outside the St Aldate’s office yesterday as part of nationwide protests organised by trade union Napo over moves to privatise 70 per cent of the service.

Andrew Lesnik, an Oxford probation service officer and a spokesman for the Thames Valley branch of Napo, said up to 15 workers stood on the picket line.

He said: “It (the service) is going to be changed into to something which is essentially sold to the highest bidder and managed by unprofessional private companies.”

Thousands of probation staff in England and Wales walked out at noon on Monday and were staying out until midnight last night.

  • Ministry of Justice figures yesterday revealed that in the Thames Valley 15,729 criminals with previous convictions were sentenced in the 12 months ending in September last year. Out of those, 283 had more than 50 convictions.