Training for the Probation Service

From Mr David Fraser Sir: Susan Hinds (letter, 24 January) wrongly accuses Peter Coad (letter, 20 January) of misquoting Home Office statistics relating to the reconvictions of persons under supervision. Mr Coad correctly referred to reconvictions of persons within two years following the commencement of an order.

Mrs Hinds also refers to Home Office statistics which claim that 88 per cent of all probation orders are completed in full, and not terminated early because of a subsequent criminal conviction; but she is wrong to call this a "success". The commission offurther offences by those under supervision of a probation order or community service order is commonplace, but long-suffering magistrates frequently deal with them in such a way as to allow their period of supervision to continue. This can apply even when the offender is sent to prison.

Yours sincerely, DAVID FRASER Bristol 25 January