1 April 2014
Nottinghamshire PCC Paddy Tipping labels translation services 'crap'
A police and crime commissioner has described the translation services used in the legal system as "crap".
Paddy Tipping said the service used by Nottinghamshire Police no longer provided a translator in person.
He added that it was often impossible to get a service within a "sensible timeframe" and that the courts system was also badly affected.
LanguageLine and Capita said they were meeting targets and clients were satisfied with their service.
Mr Tipping was speaking at a conference on Monday and reiterated the comment when questioned afterwards.
He claimed interpreters were "fed up" with not being paid properly, the courts were facing problems with a national contract and even the government was getting "irritated".
Mr Tipping said: "It doesn't work well, it is pretty poor and the contract with the provider firm needs to be revisited.
"[The police] don't have interpreters in person any more. All the interviews, all the translation is done down the phone.
"The problem is, when you ring the service up, it is often impossible to get a service within a sensible time frame."
Asked if he regretted calling the service crap, he said: "I think you need to tell it how it is and this is, let me say it on camera, a crap scheme. It needs to be taken away, torn up and started again."
'Surprised and puzzled'
Mr Tipping later said while he was responding to concerns about what was happening in Nottinghamshire, he was also complaining about the translation service nationally.
Nottinghamshire Police has a locally arranged contract with LanguageLine to provide interpreters for interviews with suspects, witnesses and victims of crime as well as to translate some of the force's literature.
Meanwhile, the courts in Nottingham use the services of Capita through a contract set up by the Ministry of Justice.
Capita said that without specific complaints it could not comment but stated it was meeting its national targets.
LanguageLine said it would be "surprised and puzzled" if the comments related to its service as Nottinghamshire Police had indicated they had no complaints.
In a Freedom of Information request last year, it was revealed Nottinghamshire police paid £382,641 for translation and interpreters in 2012/13.