Northants Police Spend £1.2m on Interpreters in Three Years

Police in Northamptonshire have spent £1.2 million on foreign interpreters in the past three years.

Wootton Hall bosses have revealed the force is having to spend around £400,000 a year on employing a vast array of foreign language speakers to help officers interview increasing numbers of criminals, as well as witnesses, from countries across Europe, Africa and Asia. Northamptonshire Police spent a total of £441,496.05 on translators and interpreters in 2008-09, £399,164.97 in 2009-10 and £395,111.90 in 2010-11.

In June this year, police made 203 requests for an interpreter, with 64, or 32 per cent, coming from officers who were dealing with Polish suspects or witnesses. The other most common languages included Russian, Romanian, Lithuanian and Chinese Mandarin. However, in one month officers also made requests for Tamil speakers, Iranian interpreters and Afghan speakers.

Most interpreters are called in by officers at short notice with the vast majority employed for less than two hours.

In the past few weeks the force has had to employ Chinese interpreters following the high-profile murder of the Ding family at their home in Wootton, who also helped with the production of leaflets handed out around Northampton, London and elsewhere.

More recently police employed Hungarian, Gujarati, Polish and Romanian interpreters to help the investigation into the murder of Karoly “Charlie” Varga, in Wellingborough.

Chief Inspector Jim Turnell said: “Northamptonshire Police uses interpreters and translation services in many different circumstances, including to take statements from victims and witnesses of crimes. They are also used when interviewing defendants in custody to ensure they understand their rights and for defence solicitors to speak to them through the translator.

“Additionally, we use a translation service when speakers of other languages call to report a crime or incident. The language line service is used to enable a three-way conversation between the caller, a translator and the call centre.”

He added: “The use of translators is key to help build relationships with the community and may provide us with vital information in these investigations.”

Taken from Northampton Chronicle & Echo: 20.08.11