20 Feb 2013
Foreign suspects cost West Midlands Police £7,000 a day for interpreters
Controversial service received £200,000 in one month as cash-strapped force feels the strain
Cash-strapped West Midlands Police spent nearly £7,000 every day on interpreters in one month to deal with rising numbers of foreign crime suspects.
New figures show the force paid an astonishing £202,000 in November to controversial Applied Language Solutions (ALS) to provide the linguists.
The company previously won a £90 million Home Office contract to supply translators for police forces and courts across the country.
But it has been slated by magistrates and judges for failing to supply the interpreters for some cases, leading to costly delays and collapsed trials.
And last year we told how some foreign suspects had walked free from West Midlands Police custody – because no ALS staff were available for their interviews.
The company has also faced a backlash from its interpreters, who had staged protests in Birmingham after claiming they were facing cuts in their wages.
The monthly fees West Midlands Police is paying to ALS were revealed in expenditure figures published for the first time by the new Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
They show the force paid £202,879 to the company for the month of November last year – working out at around £7,000 every day.
That means Oldham-based ALS, which has recently changed its name to Capita Translation and Interpreting, could make more than £2million every year from the force.