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Costs of providing translation services hitting police resources

MPs: "More diverse workforce can ease some of the burden on forces"

10 Novembre 2008. It is more expensive for the UK police to deal with foreign nationals because of the need to employ interpreters and because offenders often spend longer in custody, The MPs’ report, “Policing In The 21st Century” shows.

The report shows that foreign nationals can spend significantly longer in custody than British citizens, either where interpreters are unavailable, or where an individual has been detained for immigration purposes but immigration authorities do not have the facilities to hold the detainees prior to deportation.

This generates additional costs in providing food, phone calls and supervision, as well as a potential loss of custody facilities.

According to the report, rapid immigration has led to funding shortfalls in some force areas.

Chief Constable Spence told The House of Lords Economics Affairs Committee that in 2002 there were on average three non-UK nationals in custody per day in Cambridgeshire, rising to an average of 13 per day in 2006, with the figure now standing at ten per day.

In terms of specific costs caused by immigration, translation costs appear to be the key factor for policing. In Kent, translation costs have risen by a third in three years. Sergeant Guy Rooney, Custody Sergeant, Metropolitan Police, told the Committee that in Ealing alone the interpreters’ bill for the last financial year was £1 million.

Cambridgeshire’s translation costs are also around £1 million per year.

The “Policing In The 21st Century” report suggests that a more diverse workforce can ease some of the burden on forces by reducing interpretation costs and facilitating information-sharing between new communities and the police.

It also recommends that “some of the money from the transitional migration fund allocated to integration projects be diverted to support greater education on British laws, particularly those governing driving, on how immigrants can protect themselves from becoming victims of crime, and how to report crime, in the manner of information already provided by some local authorities.”

 

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