Interpreter costs quadruple

COSTS for interpreters used by Suffolk police have closed to quadrupled in the past five years, The Evening Star can reveal.Between April 2005 and March 2006 a total of £175,721 was spent on interpreter costs for crime suspects as well as victims and witnesses.

COSTS for interpreters used by Suffolk police have closed to quadrupled in the past five years, The Evening Star can reveal.

Between April 2005 and March 2006 a total of £175,721 was spent on interpreter costs for crime suspects as well as victims and witnesses.

The cost does not include interpreters used in the court system.

The figure is a 286 per cent increase on the sum spent in 2000/01 which totalled £45,567.

Police say the service is essential to ensure justice for victims of crime and fair treatment for suspects and believe the rising cost is as a result of an increase in ethnic minority groups in the county.

A police spokesman said: "Our figures cover interpreter costs for victims, witnesses as well as offenders.

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"Suffolk Constabulary is currently involved in the Suffolk First For You initiative, which aims to provide local people with the highest quality policing service.

"One of the initiative's key aims is to make sure that everyone we have contact with feels we have listened and communicated effectively with them.

"The increase also reflects the greater diversity of the communities we have in Suffolk."

Nationally a massive £20million was spent by UK police forces on interpreters last year.

The £175,000 spent by Suffolk police places the county 25th in the league table for top spending forces.

The Metropolitan police tops the table with £7.18million in interpreter fees with West Yorkshire police in second place with £1.08million spent.

In East Anglia spending in Suffolk falls below the level of neighbours Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk.

Cambridgeshire spent £715,000 on interpreters, with Essex spending £471,000 and Norfolk spending £312,548.

Weblink:

www.suffolk.police.uk

Do you think spending on interpreters is justified? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Breakdown of interpreter costs footed by Suffolk police

2000/1 £45,567.69

2001/2 £68,382.18

2002/3 £97,224.74

2003/4 £108,832.82

2004/5 £145,233.42

2005/6 £175,721.39

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