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Cost of police interpreters peaks at £329k

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 24, 2011

LANGUAGE BARRIER:  The interpreting service is used when interviewing suspects and witnesses

LANGUAGE BARRIER: The interpreting service is used when interviewing suspects and witnesses

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The cost of interpreters to Devon and Cornwall police has risen to its highest level in more than a decade.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed the force spent £329,056 on interpreters in 2010-11, a rise of £4,000 on the previous year. The force spent £32,000 in 1999 to 2000.

In 2008/09 the force spent £277,454 on interpreter fees and £281,610 in 2007/2008.

In 2005, the force signed up to Language Line, an over-the-phone service with access to interpreters for 150 languages. At the time the force said it would cost around £1.50 a minute. Initially only available to custody centres to help interview suspects, the service was extended to call-handling centres, police station inquiry officers and patrolling officers to communicate with prisoners and suspects, witnesses and victims.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said the force, along with other public- services, had seen a "steady rise" in costs to provide an "adequate service in what is an ever increasing multi-cultural society". The spokesman said it used "nationally approved" interpretersand local vetted onesbut it was "disadvantaged" as most NRPSI interpreters were based in London and the North West.

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