Zara Aleena was walking home alone from a night out with her friends in June when she was sexually assaulted and murdered by Jordan McSweeney, a thug motivated by misogyny and racism, with a history of extreme violence against women. The inspectorate report into her case found a series of preventable mistakes that allowed Zara’s killer to walk London’s streets, when he should have been recalled into custody after breaching the terms of his release.
After 13 years of Conservative austerity, the probation service is mired in chaos. The review discovered widespread staff vacancies and excessive workloads. I asked during the Ministerial Statement on this yesterday what the Minister intends to do to resolve this situation, and will be keeping a close eye on what seem like inflated claims about recruiting more probation officers.
Keir Starmer also raised this shocking case at PMQs today, pointing out that the problems are systemic. The probation service, like so many other of our public services, has been left inadequate, and this inadequacy is lethal. The Government has every responsibility to keep the public safe. We can’t trust it to do so.