The Chair of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Sean Bateson, officially opened the new office for Probation. The new office is in a central location in the Diamond.
Probation supervises a number of people on community sentences within the Coleraine area to guide their rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community. A community sentence can include unpaid work as part of the conditions they have to fulfil, and victims may also have a say in what work is to be carried out.
Speaking at the opening of the new office, the Chairman of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Sean Bateson, said:
“Probation have been based in Coleraine for many years before moving to this office so they have always had a strong local presence in Coleraine and the surrounding area. I am delighted that the well-established service is continuing with the move to these modern offices. Probation staff use their skills and abilities to facilitate rehabilitation and to tackle the root causes of offending. By doing so, they change lives for safer communities. Through the Probation Board’s representation on Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership, a link also exists with Councillors locally and provides an informal pathway when issues arise.”
Probation Director of Operations Hugh Hamill, emphasised his support for the community focused work carried out by local Probation staff:
“Every year, Probation delivers reports for courts, supervises orders and licences and provides victims of crime with a service through the victim information scheme. We know and can evidence that through our work fewer people go on to reoffend. This is the sort of work that the Coleraine office carries out with our Justice partners, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Youth Justice Agency, Judiciary, and Social Services. We also work very closely with community based organisations like Conservation Volunteers, The Vine Yard, Riding for the Disabled and Causeway Coast and Rescue to name a few.”
Probation Board Chair, Dale Ashford QFSM, highlighted the importance of engagement with local communities and stated that community involvement was ‘key’ to helping PBNI deliver its strategic plans for safer communities more effectively. Speaking at the office opening Mr Ashford said;
“The importance of engagement with local communities and working in partnership is absolutely critical. Our work does not take place in isolation. We are part of the justice system, working in collaboration with partners to deliver safer communities.
The Board is beginning the process of developing its Corporate Plan for 2020-23 and will be seeking to consult with partners and those working and living in local communities. I hope that many of you here will participate in that consultation.”