‘They were very threatening about do-gooding bastards’: Probation’s changing relationships with the police and prison services in England and Wales

  • Rob C Mawby (154 Upper New Walk, University of Leicester. United Kingdom. Email: rim3@le.ac.uk)
  • Anne Worrall (Professor Anne Worrall, Keele University and the University of Western Australia. Email: a.j.worrall@crim.keele.ac.uk)

In recent decades the probation service has been encouraged to work closely with a range of public and voluntary sector agencies. This article examines probation‟s changing relationships with the police and prison services drawing on sixty interviews with current and former probation workers. Analysing probation-prison and probation-police relationships pre- and post-1998 and drawing on Davidson‟s (1976) typology of inter-organisational relationships, the article argues that, despite both structural and cultural transformations, there remain cultural continuities in each organisation that create tensions, the significance (both positive and negative) of which should not be under-estimated.

Keywords: Probation, Probation officers, Occupational cultures, Organisational relationships, Multi-agency relationships

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