I WAS dismayed to learn this week that the supervision and overseeing of offenders in Gloucestershire has been “among the worst in the country.”

The report by the HM Inspectorate of Probation published last week found that officers had “dangerously high workloads” and that “staff did not always pay sufficient attention to managing risks and keeping other people safe.”

The report on the Bristol, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company makes for worrying reading and it’s a damning indictment of one of our most vital public services, which manages 6,300 offenders.

The probation service works to support some of society’s most vulnerable people as well as manage risk posed by some of the most dangerous.

The probation service is now run by Seetec, which took over from Working Links in February. The inspectorate said that, while Seetec is heading in the right direction, there are still major concerns.

Probation services should be working hand-in-hand with the police and the criminal justice system to help us to build stronger and safer communities.

But there is extensive rebuilding to be done, particularly of those services offloaded to private companies.

Even the government has admitted the privatised probation system is not working and it will be renationalised by the end of 2020.

This is another example of the long legacy that austerity has wreaked on our services.