Thanks to a number of circumstances, Police officers throughout the UK spend an inordinate amount of time and money requiring the use of specialist translation services to facilitate communication with people with limited or no English speaking capability.
Be it for dealing with witnesses, suspects, or even a simple traffic stop (not that there is ever anything ‘simple’ in police work any more), officers rely more and more on specialist Interpreters, either on the phone, or at police stations, to get the job done.
Recent figures released under a freedom of Information request showed that British police forces spent £82 MILLION over the last three years obtaining such services; and are currently still spending around £70-75,000 A DAY !!!
At Bigtown nick, we’ve developed a sort of sweepstake game between the shifts to see who can get the furthest away interpreter. It works like this – when you need an interpreter on the phone we call a central number, give them our account code and tell the operator what language we require – the operator then puts us through to the next available translator for that language, who may be anywhere in the world !!
I’ve recently spoken to a Hindi translator in San Fransisco, a Latvian translator in Honolulu and only yesterday, a Polish interpreter in Moscow. I’m not winning the sweepstake though – Natalie on one of the other squads is with a French interpreter ….. in Christchurch, New Zealand !!!