The Secretary of State has appointed Adrian Usher as the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon. Dominic Raab MP, has announced the appointment of Adrian Usher as Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for a tenure of three years. His appointment will commence on 24 April 2023 and will run until 23 April 2026.

Mr Usher’s appointment follows a report from the Justice Select Committee into his suitability for the role, published on 25 January, and a public hearing with the committee held on 24 January.

Pre-appointment scrutiny is an important part of the appointment process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to the appointment process. Pre-appointment hearings are held in public and allow a Select Committee to take evidence before a candidate is appointed. Ministers consider the Committee’s views before deciding whether to proceed with the appointment.

The role of the PPO was established in 1994 to be an independent adjudicator of complaints from prisoners following the Woolf Inquiry into the 1990 riots at Strangeways and other prisons. Its remit has since expanded to include probation complaints and complaints from immigration detainees. Further, the PPO now carries out investigations into deaths of prisoners, young people in detention, approved premises’ residents and immigration detainees.

The PPO’s office is operationally independent of, though sponsored by, the MOJ. The role is not defined in legislation but works to the Terms of Reference set by the Secretary of State.


Mr Usher has recently retired from an extensive career as a Senior Police Officer for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), joining in 2003. He has previously served on both Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Corruption Commands and has been a Senior Investigating Officer in a variety of roles. He retired as Commander for Learning and Development in the MPS where he led the training requirements across policing operations including changing training to accommodate new legislation, law enforcement best practice and improving policing standards.

Published 29 March 2023