2m language barrier
POLICE chiefs have spent nearly million on translation costs to help officers communicate with victims of crime, offenders and witnesses over the last six years, The Star can reveal.
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"There are procedures and processes in place to help them whether they need an interpreter, for a face to face interview, or whether they need to use the Language Line facility.
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"South Yorkshire Police is no different from any other force in having to pay these costs because of the mix of languages here."
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In the 2008/09 financial year, the force spent 290,281.52, in 2009/10 it was 342,213,45 and in 2010/11 the bill was 315,393.21, giving a total of 1,910,890.29 over the six years.
"Whether it is a victim or an eyewitness we are interviewing it is important that they have a level of understanding.
Supt Whitehouse added: "Modern day police officers recognise that the communities they serve are extremely diverse and that there is a need to adapt.
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Since 2005, officers, detectives and police staff have dealt with people speaking 45 languages other than English.
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"Over the last few years we have seen an influx from various parts of Europe to complement the diverse multicultural place we already had," he said.
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The force pays interpreters on an hourly basis for face to face interviews and the taking of witness statements, but it also subscribes to a specialist telephone service where interpreters for any language can be found instantly.
Between April 2005 and March 2006, the force spent 402,794.89 on translation costs, but they dropped to 315,375.03 the following year and 244,832.19 the year after according to the figures, revealed under the Star's Your Right to Know campaign which challenges public bodies to reveal information of importance.
"We have needed interpreters to help us with people from all parts of the globe."
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to make translation and interpretation arrangements for has increased because of the need for fairness in investigative procedures and in gathering police evidence.
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Superintendent Nick Whitehouse, of South Yorkshire's criminal justice department, said the amount the force has to spend on translation costs reflects the diversity of modern day South Yorkshire.
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