Statement on the report by the Chief Inspector of Probation

The report by the Chief Inspector of Probation is another devastating example of institutional failings that have led to the murder of another woman and a lifetime of loss for her family and loved ones. 

This report comes out in the same week as more revelations of police failings leading to the rape and assault of hundreds of women and girls.

We rely on the police and the probation and the government to keep us safe. WE need to trust them and believe that our safety is important.

As the probation report highlights, ‘All the evidence shows that McSweeney should have been assessed, on release from prison, as high risk of serious harm. Instead, he was incorrectly assessed as being of medium risk because each of the offences, his behaviours in prison, and his criminal history, had been reviewed in isolation’

The probation service must be working with other agencies to evaluate the catalogue of behaviours by a dangerous offender and ensure that there are not “missed opportunities”, which put further women’s lives in danger.

The family say today that ‘The probation service has a big part to play in Zara’s murder, they have a responsibility here.

“Government bears responsibility too, it is not just the probation service.’

Women and girls are being murdered every three days in the UK and the authorities that should be keeping us safe are failing us.

It is vital that the probation services take on board the urgent actions highlighted by this report to make sure this cannot happen again. 

These recommendations are not new – we are calling on the Ministry of Justice to ensure that agencies are addressing failings around information sharing and joined up working, provide the resources to keep women safe and they hold the probation service to account to make these urgent actions. 

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