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Probation Officer

What does a Probation Officer do?

Probation officers interact with offenders, victims, police and prison service colleagues in order to protect the public and reduce the incidence of reoffending. The work is likely to involve close liaison with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies. Probation officers work only in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate criminal justice systems and different arrangements for the provision of probation services.

Recommended courses

Law with Criminology
BA Criminology
BA Criminology and Sociology
BSc Professional Policing

What skills does a Probation Officer need?

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to, persuade and influence others
  • The ability to accept criticism and work collaboratively under pressure
  • Teamwork skills
  • Knowledge of psychology
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations and be flexible when changes occur
  • Patience and a caring attitude
  • The ability to pay attention to detail and be thorough in your work
  • The ability to work autonomously
  • Administrative skills
  • Good communication skills, including the ability to write up case work notes and reports
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Effective decision making skills and good judgement, as well as the ability to think on your feet and solve problems
  • Motivation and commitment
  • Integrity
  • The ability to actively listen to people
  • Counselling skills
  • Resilience and the ability to enjoy a challenge
  • A non-judgmental approach
  • An understanding and appreciation of equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice
  • Knowledge and understanding of the work that the criminal justice system and the probation service do
  • Assertiveness.

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