Interpreters cost police more than £130,000 in each of last three years

Interpreters cost police more than £130,000 in each of last three years

Simon Meechan

Hiring interpreters has cost the area's police more than £130,000 in each of the last three financial years, while the prosecution service is increasing its spending on translation services.

The latest figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in the 2013-14 financial year Thames Valley Police spent £135,151.28 on interpreters in the Royal Borough.

They are hired to help interview offenders, suspects, victims and witnesses who do not speak English at a high level.

In 2012-13 the force spent £130,692.49 on interpreters in Windsor and Maidenhead, with £138,552.25 splashed out the previous year.

But the figures contrast heavily with Slough, which has cut its spending on the service from £190,046.24 in 2011-12 to £67,963.47 in the last financial year. In 2012-13 it spent £84,858.31.

Windsor and Maidenhead's local policing area (LPA) commander, Superintendent Kate Ford, says her force has been unable to cut its spending at the same level as Slough because Maidenhead is the 'custody hub' for surrounding areas.

In 2012 Slough closed its custody rooms, with Maidenhead holding suspects instead.

Supt Ford said: "The need for interpreters is demand led and whilst Slough’s is based predominantly on the witnesses and victims of crime who provide their statements and first accounts in a language other than English, Maidenhead's includes all the interviews of suspects who do not have English as a first language. "

She added her team is 'always' looking for ways to be more cost effective.

Slough's area commander, Superintendent Simon Bowden, also put its lower costs down to falling crime rates in the town.

He said: "The last three years have seen significant reductions in crimes, which translates to fewer victims and fewer arrests for those criminal offences. This will result in fewer requests for interpreting services."

In 2011-12 there were 14,414 crimes in Slough, which fell to 11,713 last year. In the same time period crime in Windsor and Maidenhead dropped from 10,682 to 8,164.

The Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service spent £100,284 on interpreters and translators in 2013, compared to £91,850 in 2012 and £89,939 in 2011.

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