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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

June 4, 2009: Ministry of Justice On Sonnex Management

The Ministry of Justice has published reports on the management of Dano Sonnex within the criminal justice system, following his conviction for the murders of French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez.

Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer were found guilty of the murders of French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez. At the time of the murders, Dano Sonnex was subject to a warrant for his arrest and recall to prison for breach of his probation licence conditions.

TheIndependent Police Complaints Commission is publishing a report into the police aspects of this case. HM Inspectorate of Probation is publishing a casework inspection into Greenwich and Lewisham, which had responsibility for managing Dano Sonnex.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

‘On behalf of the Government, I express my deepest sympathies to the families of Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez and I am ensuring they receive every possible support.

‘These were the most appalling, sadistic, and gratuitous murders. The direct responsibility for these killings must lie – as the jury found – with the criminals Sonnex and Farmer. But it is also the case that Sonnex could and should have been in custody at the time he committed these murders. It was the consequence of very serious failures across the criminal justice system that he had not been arrested and incarcerated some weeks before.

‘It is because of these failings that I have met the families of the two victims on two occasions and apologised to them for the failings which led to Dano Sonnex being free at the time of the murders. In relation to the failings of the probation service, I take full responsibility as Secretary of State. They were unacceptable and had tragic consequences.

‘Whilst risk can never be eliminated entirely and the management of chaotic offenders is inherently very difficult, there is clear evidence of poor judgement and failures to act promptly by the agencies responsible for managing Dano Sonnex.’

The Justice Secretary, National Offender Management Service and Home Office took swift action to seek to address the failings which have emerged through consideration of the Sonnex case.

A series of thorough reviews were set in train. This has included a serious further offence review, an independent review by the National Offender Management Service (also available in French), and inquiries by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the London Criminal Justice Board. All recommendations from these reports have been accepted.

Mr Straw accepted the recommendation from NOMS that the failings in London Probation were so serious that they constituted grounds for performance capability procedures against the Chief Officer of London Probation, who acknowledged the failings and resigned his position.

A new interim Chief Officer of London Probation, Paul Wilson, was appointed in early March and has already initiated many changes.
London Probation produced a detailed performance action plan, which will be led by a new Chief currently being recruited. London Probation is improving performance rapidly through procedures such as prioritised training, daily meetings, new monthly targets, speedy recall processes and task forces for IT and HR.

100 new probation officers will be recruited in London in the next two years.

Staff with responsibility for managing this case have been investigated under internal procedures and appropriate action taken. The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated the actions of the police officers responsible for recalling Sonnex to custody. As a result, one officer received a disciplinary warning.

The results of this work will be independently scrutinised by the Chief Inspector of Probation, who is currently conducting a case inspection in specific areas of London Probation at the Justice Secretary’s request. The Chief Inspector will report back by September and has agreed to repeat the exercise 12 months later to assess whether the necessary improvements have been delivered and maintained.

The Metropolitan Police now has a unit in each London Borough dedicated to arresting wanted offenders. And it has put in place revised systems, with other agencies, to improve information-sharing and ensure the clear identification and timely arrest of such offenders.