22nd July 2012 by Jenny Makin
Hampshire police insists it won't use Applied Language Solutions for interpreters
Hampshire police say they have no plans to save money by switching to a cheaper translation firm which has come under fire nationally because their staff are not up to the job.
The force said it would continue to hire translators through the National Register of Public Service Interpreters – an organisation formed in early 2000 to regulate interpreters – instead of switching to the cheaper service being provided by Applied Language Solutions (ALS).
Their comments came after the Daily Echo exclusively revealed yesterday the fiasco at a murder trial at Winchester Crown Court which had to be halted because of a problem with an unqualified interpreter.
As we reported, the judge, Mr Justice Barnett, temporarily stopped the trial of Rajvinder Kaur when a man turned up to translate because his wife – the real interpreter – was busy elsewhere.
He wrongly translated a number of key words and phrases.
Investigations found he was not qualified or registered with ALS, but his wife had been booked for the job through the company.
When a second interpreter was brought in on Monday, she was also incapable of relaying key words to the witness giving evidence in the murder trial.
A full-scale investigation is now under way by the Justice Select Committee, a powerful parliamentary committee, into the awarding of the contract to ALS by the Government in a bid to save cash.
Nationally there have been more than 2,300 complaints regarding ALS and their interpreters who have turned up late if at all, and then been unable to do the job required.
Jo Rowland, head of custody and criminal justice for the force, said there were no plans to switch to the cheaper firm.
She said: “The situation is that Hampshire Constabulary's interpreting services are sourced in-house using the NRPSI Register.
“ALS is the provider procured nationally by the Ministry of Justice to provide interpreting services in all courts in England and Wales, entirely separate from the police.”