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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of offenders used high-visibility clothing whilst undertaking community payback work in the last period for which figures are available.
The use of distinctive high visibility clothing by offenders sentenced to Community Payback is monitored centrally by the number of hours worked. The number of offenders using high visibility clothing is not recorded. The last period for which figures are available is March, when 76.25 per cent. of the hours worked by offenders on Community Payback projects potentially in view of the public, were undertaken using distinctive clothing.
Exemptions to the use of distinctive clothing may be granted where convincing evidence is provided on the basis of health and safety concerns, or business risk to the organisation benefiting from the work. Probation areas have successfully engaged with beneficiary organisations to increase the proportion of hours worked using distinctive high visibility clothing. The hours worked using distinctive clothing increased from 210,974 hours in December 2008 to 401,680 in March 2009. Distinctive clothing is not worn on work projects taking place on enclosed premises, such as workshops, where the work done by offenders is not potentially in view of the public.