PROBATION staff at courts in Warrington and Runcorn will be walking out today as part of a national 24-hour strike over Government plans to privatise 70 per cent of the service.

Napo, the trade union for probation and family court staff, has said the move will have a ‘significant impact’ on public safety and protection.

Criminal defence solicitors will also be walking out in protest against cuts in legal aid fees.

Nicola Hill, president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association, said: “What’s happening to probation and criminal legal aid belongs to the same sorry story.

“That’s why criminal defence solicitors are standing by colleagues in probation.

“As the government dismantles the criminal justice system, risks are being taken which threaten public safety and the right to a fair defence.”

The government has said the reforms are necessary.