VANCOUVER, March 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The overall number of front line probation officers is not increasing despite the government's announcement that it is hiring 36 new probation officers, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) said today.
The 36 new probation officers are being hired to replace the same number of experienced officers whose duties are being shifted to the Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS), a pilot project focused on improving probation officers' interviewing techniques.
"The number of front line probation officers is not increasing, even though B.C. has the second highest probation officer caseload in the country, and that caseload has increased by a third in just six years," says BCGEU President Darryl Walker. "The government must increase staffing resources in community corrections."
"We fully support the STICS program, but today's announcement does not address the severe front line caseload situation for our probation officers," says Doug Kinna, BCGEU Component Six Chair.
The B.C. Auditor General published a report last December that highlighted the unsustainable caseloads faced by probation officers. The report also spoke to difficulties with training and documentation of cases, which are directly related to excessive workload, the union believes.
The Government STICS backgrounder published today acknowledges that "the 36 additional probation officers will be hired incrementally over the next four years and will take over caseload responsibilities of existing officers."
The BCGEU represents 375 probation officers around British Columbia.
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