'We just have to wait and see if any of us have jobs'

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LEE SPRAKE is an officer in Portsmouth City Council's Community safety team.

He is part of the council's youth offending team, which trade union Unison fears will be shut down for good.

And he says he and his colleagues fear they will all lose their jobs in the planned cuts.

He said: 'We want to fight hard to save the youth offending project. But at the moment, we just have to wait and see if any of us even have jobs. We have heard rumours we are all to go and everyone's fearing for their jobs.'

Mr Sprake and his colleagues received notification close to 400 posts were to be lost by email on Thursday afternoon.

He said: 'I don't think it's been done properly. There've been so many rumours and when we do finally get something official it doesn't say what will happen. But if we go, I fear for our community, as well as for what happens to us next.'

The youth offending team works with young people who are in trouble with the law, and those at risk, including youngsters who are in families with a record of domestic abuse.

In the last three years, the city's youth custody figures dropped from 44 to 16, an all-time low.

Mr Sprake said: 'We do good for the community. It's good for young people, as it helps them back into society, and for everyone, because it helps make the city safer and nicer. We face losing our jobs. I want to ask councillors, who we elected to look after our city, why they don't stand up to government? The city needs the council's services.'