British police's spending on interpreters shoots up

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Oct 2 08:48:48 UTC 2006

International : British police' spending on interpreters shoots up
Posted by admin on 2006/9/28 6:43:05

London, Sep 28 (IANS) Britain's police department has recorded a steep
hike in its spending on language interpreters to now touch 21 million
pounds a year, mainly due to the large influx of immigrants to the
country. In some cases, the spending on language interpreters shot up by
2,000 percent in the past five years, according to The Times newspaper.
"The demand for interpreters has increased to support people from a wide
range of communities involved in the criminal justice system, whether
victims, witnesses or offenders. Interpreters are used in a variety of
crucial roles, ranging from an interview with a foreign driver involved in
a road collision to interpreting documents used in major investigations of
serious crime," a spokesman for Staffordshire police said.

The massive increase in spending is a direct result of a large number of
people entering Britain, say police. Recent statistics show that around
342,000 people - among them Indians - moved to Britain each year. West
Midlands Police spent 1.7 million pounds on interpreters last year,
compared to 439,638 pounds it spent five years ago - up more than 300
percent. "It is important to stress that this is not just about criminal
matters, but an active engagement with both new and established
communities about any issues which may affect their quality of life", said
a spokeswoman.

"Interpreter services are not cheap. Police need people who are
professionally trained," he said. "But there are long-term implications
here. Twenty years ago you could expect that someone coming to this
country would learn English, but that assumption does not hold any more.
"Many people come here for a short term and have no interest in learning
English. This means that police will probably need more interpreter
services in the future." Danny Sriskandarajah, associate director of the
Institute for Public Policy Research said. "The provision of
English-language teaching in Britain is abysmal. A lot of people want to
learn English - they just don't have the means. If a few million pounds
more is spent on English-language training, the government could save
millions on interpreters in the long term," he added.


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