THE HAMPSHIRE Probation Trust is to be dissolved.

The trust, which aims to reduce the numbers of re-offenders through carefully managed programmes, will be privatised next year.

That means that 60 per cent of offenders currently dealt with by HPT will be contracted out to private companies, and the other 40 per cent, usually those deemed high risk, supervised by national government schemes.

Although the plan was released last year, councillors at last week’s (March 14) Safe and Healthy People Select Committee Crime and Disorder Scrutiny meeting seemed shocked.

Cllr Jonathon Glen, chairman of Policy and Resources Select Committee, raised concerns about private contractors abusing the system to make money, and if companies would be monitored.

Chris Mitchell, of Hampshire Probation Trust, said: “I am not sure how that will all work just yet. The quality of the work delivered will be subject to inspection.

“But there are no details behind that at the moment.”

Cllr Patricia Stallard chaired the meeting, and said: “There are very uncertain times ahead and we want to keep and eye on that in the future.”

It was recommended that councillors visit HMP in Winchester in the near future.